The role of peace support operations in transitional justice: a case study of Rwanda
Over the last two decades, scholarly and expert interest in the burgeoning field of transitional justice has continued to grow, and today it is unthinkable to conceive of political transitions, or transitions from war to peace, without also thinking about questions of accountability for past human rights abuses and mass atrocities. This is particularly the case in relation to Africa. The exercise of engaging in constructive change needs to transcend the symbolism that often attends to transitional justice processes toward dealing with the underlying structures and human relationships at various levels, politically, socially and economically. The question of transitional justice calls for an understanding of the broader and complex issues of justice in divided societies. It is therefore important to examine and analyze how Rwanda has implemented its Transitional Justice process and how the UN Mission assisted in that process. The general objective of the study is to find out the role that peace support operations played in transitional justice in Rwanda so as to maintain unwavering peace and reconciliation amongst the citizens. The study has adopted the Neoliberalism as the theoretical framework. A basic assumption of neoliberalism is the institutional separation of society into an economic and political sphere, as neoliberals claim that all problems of the economy can be resolved by socially-neutral experts using technical rationality. Both qualitative and quantitative approaches have been used. Often in qualitative design only one object, one case, or one unit is the focus of investigation over an extended period of time. The research is interested in the character and the role of peace support operations in transitional justice in Rwanda. The researcher will use it as a tool for collecting data hoping that the analysis and questions will try and explain Rwanda’s transitional justice process. The research has pointed out the various roles of PSOs in other parts of the world and what they were assigned and mandated to do. It observes that in Sub-Saharan Africa their mandate has been minimal and not specific to administering transitional justice processes. Possibly this could be due to the nature of PSOs and how they are deployed to various regions during peace enforcement or peace-making. Sub-Saharan Africa has been unique in the sense that the timing and implementation of Transitional Justice has not been solely a transitioning period, although some have. The research study however, did examine their roles and possible future functions, factoring the context and needs on the ground. Given the cross border nature of conflict and violence in Africa, Rwanda needs to consider mooting a policy that will address transitional justice. In order to address border spillovers, Rwanda and Africa should set up accountability measures to hold rebels who move beyond national borders, so as to end impunity. A show of commitment by all the states in Africa will be vital, and also financing the justice institutions in every country in order to strengthen its judicial capacity. Capacity building and establishment of Africa/Civil society partnership for regional outreach and advocacy work at the community level is important to gain local support. Dialogue and continuous consultations with all stakeholders in the situation is necessary and important element one cannot afford to leave it out.