Source: (2013) South African Journal of Philosophy. 32(1):10-35.

It has frequently been argued that the post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was committed to restorative justice (RJ), and that RJ has deep historical roots in African indigenous cultures by virtue of its congruence both with ubuntu and with African indigenous justice systems (AIJS). In this article, I look into the question of what RJ is. I also present the finding that the term ‘restorative justice’ appears only in transcripts of three public TRC hearings, and the hypothesis that the TRC first really began to take notice of the term ‘restorative justice’ after April 1997, when the South African Law Commission published an Issue Paper dealing with RJ. Furthermore, I show that neither the connection between RJ and ubuntu nor the connection between RJ and AIJS is as straightforward and unproblematic as often assumed. (author's abstract)

Read Full Article