Statement of H. E. Brita Wagener at the Open Session of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union on Justice, Peace and Reconciliation in Africa, on 20.10.2017

Enlarge image

Mr Chairmen,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me thank you for this opportunity to address the distinguished members of the Council. As this is the first time I have the honor to speak in this Council, I would like to reassure you of Germany’s commitment to the essential work of the African Union, and I personally look forward to working with you.

Transitional justice has over the past three decades become a key element of peace processes all over the world, including in Africa. In post-conflict situations, weak state institutions, social exclusion and poverty make transitional justice an essential connector between stabilization, peacebuilding and the prevention of further violence. In these situations, it is essential to build trust between state institutions and society as well as reconcile deeply divided groups of society. Concrete measures of transitional justice can support the investigation, recognition and prosecution of past injustices. It is these measures which help restoring confidence in the state’s protective functions, pave the way for peaceful social coexistence, and prevent human rights violations in the future. The importance of justice for peace processes is clearly illustrated by numerous ad-hoc tribunals, hybrid courts, the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC), truth and reconciliation commissions, compensation programmes, the strengthening of victims’ rights, as well as ongoing discussions about a specific African court of criminal justice in addition to the already well-functioning African Court for Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Let me name but a few instruments, which Germany supports in the framework of our stabilization efforts in the immediate aftermath of conflict: Assisting local peace infrastructures like peace committees, peacebuilding ministries or reconciliation commissions can provide a sustainable base for reconciliation processes and advance peaceful conflict management processes. Supporting civil society can reinforce democracy on the ground. Strengthening participation processes that include civil society, women representatives and marginalized groups in government decision making can improve ownership of the population and therefore implementation on the ground. And, finally, supporting effective mechanisms of in-court or out-of-court settlement of disputes accessible to the entire population can mark a pathway for peaceful and inclusive social and economic development.

Monsieur le president,

Afin de rendre ces exemples abstraits plus concrets : Au Mali, l'Allemagne apporte non seulement un soutien militaire et policier à la MINUSMA et à la Mission de formation de l'UE (EUTM). Nous assistons également le processus de paix et de stabilisation en apportant une aide professionnelle et financière au Ministère de la Réconciliation, au Haut-représentant et à la Commission de la vérité et de la réconciliation (CVR). Dans la poursuite d'un processus de réconciliation inclusif, des dialogues participatifs pour la résolution des conflits sont menés dans toutes les régions du Mali.

Mr. Chairmen,

Where local and regional mechanisms fail to provide justice to the victims of gross human rights violations and war crimes, we need an international system which takes over to ensure accountability for perpetrators of such violence. Therefore, the importance of the International Criminal Court cannot be emphasized enough if we want to create sustainable real peace and reconciliation for populations emerging from conflict – in Africa as well as in the rest of the world. There is no peace without justice and without reconciliation.

I thank you.

Enlarge image
Enlarge image