From the Conclusion:

There is a concept that exists in much of Africa that we do not have in the West, called Ubuntu in Southern Africa. It is a sense that humanity shares a common spirit and that when one individual is violated, the whole of humanity feels that pain. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has characterized Ubuntu as such: “my humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” He employed this ideology when he presided over the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in South Africa after apartheid. At the TRC, those who had committed crimes of aggression appeared in front of their communities and apologized for the sake of a greater good. Although the TRC is much better-known, Acholi justice mechanisms in Uganda, Ubashingantahe in Burundi, and community projects such as the Kamenge Youth Center all provide a similar result of reconciling humanity. Though transitional justice often takes place alongside criminal justice, it has proven to be an incredibly effective means of cleansing a society previously wrought with violence and instability.

Ultimately, restorative justice must happen on local terms, but Westerners can contribute by broadening the public understanding of community-based justice mechanisms and ensuring that their foreign policy respects such forms of peacebuilding. The United States can transform its justice narrative from one of criminal prosecution to one of community reconciliation, and then embolden this perspective through political pressure and funding allocation. If we consider Ubuntu as a guiding principle, then we must necessarily support and recognize restorative justice in Burundi and Uganda as legitimate, for it is only when those communities are healed that we too can feel reconciled.

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