COVID-19, Transitional Justice and Victims' Experiences in Africa

In 2019, the African Union adopted a new tool to guide processes of coming to terms with difficult pasts and mass atrocities on the African continent – the African Union Transitional Justice Policy (AUTJP). The policy had not been around long when the public health crisis induced by COVID-19 hit Africa, albeit with a relatively lower impact than on other continents. Transitional justice processes have been affected in different ways by this crisis. Victims of past human rights abuses, who are key to all transitional justice measures, have been hit hard. In this paper, I explore the situation of victims vis-àvis transitional justice processes in selected African countries when COVID-19 appeared. I look at the performance of these transitional justice processes and attempt to ascertain the prospects for the AUTJP to improve remedies for victims. I also make suggestions on ways to orient the AUTJP’s scope to alleviate victims’ plight, including through synchronisation with other regional processes, during and beyond COVID-19.