Victims in the Workings of International Criminal Justice in Africa: Lessons for and from the Kenya

The African Leadership Centre (ALC) and the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), which is based in Dakar, Senegal held a one day Open Forum in Nairobi on Victims in the Workings of International Criminal Justice in Africa: Lessons for and from the Kenya. This meeting was part of the International Criminal Justice, Reconciliation and Peace in Africa: The ICC and Beyond Programme which is a programme CODESRIA has run together with the Social Science Research Council. The broad goal of the programme is to significantly improve the quality of scholarship, debates and policy on international criminal justice, peace and reconciliation in Africa while further democratizing the nature of conversations on the subject through conferences, the conduct and dissemination of studies and policy engagement.

The Nairobi Open forum sought to address two questions. A question relating to the existing domestic, national and international systems that ensure redress for the victims of gross human rights abuses in Africa. Second question is on finding the best system that ensures redress while at the same time promoting the long term interests of reconciliation and peace.

The Open forum was conducted through a series of presentations and an exhibition of the cartoons touching on international criminal justice and gross abuses by the celebrated East African cartoonist Gado. The presentations, which featured a strong interaction of panellists and participants allowed the exploration of alternatives mechanisms and the weighing of the benefits and costs of these systems with a view to capturing the informed choices that can best enable African societies to balance the interests of victims, the struggle against impunity and the search for long term social peace and reconciliation.

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