The justice versus amnesty approach to resolving the protracted conflict in the Central African Republic
Keywords:Africa, peace, promoting peace, peace-making, durable peace, conflict resolution, accountability, retributive justice, restorative justice, peace versus justice
This study aims at the debate of promoting peace and achieving justice in conflict-prone countries. The debate’s core is whether justice should be traded for peacemaking. Whether or not, justice or peace should take precedence over each other? Proponents of peace over justice contend that pursuing justice will lead to more conflict in an already precarious situation. Their counterparts hold that durable peace cannot be achieved without justice. Eight African states, including the ‘phantom’ state of Central African Republic (CAR), have applied amnesties in resolving their conflicts. The research focuses on how amnesties and criminal trials have attained the goals of sustainable peace, deterrence and political stability in CAR. This paper views justice as an essential aspect of achieving peace, not solely in retributive terms. Amnesty is analysed from the lens of international law, which obligates states to extradite or prosecute and punish perpetrators of international crimes. The research limits its analysis to accountability for international crimes and amnesty approach through negotiated post-conflict peace agreements in CAR. The study argues that justice options provide a better opportunity for a comprehensive and durable peace in CAR than amnesty, which promotes impunity and guarantees momentary peace and subsequent relapse to conflict.
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