Back to RJ Archive

Restoring Justice (Ubuntu): An African Perspective.

Elechi, O. Oko
June 4, 2015

Source: (2010) International Criminal Justice Review. 20(1):73-85.

This study examines the principles and practices of the African concept of justice in contemporary times, and explores the possibility of using these concepts in the United States and other countries. The goal of justice-making in Africa is the restoration of victims and the reintegration of the offender back into the community. The restoration of relationships and social harmony undermined by the conflict is also an important goal of African justice. The effectiveness of African justice system derives from the fact that all stakeholders have equal access and participation in the conflict resolution process. All voices are recognized and respected in the process and decisions are reached through a consensus. Justice-making further creates an opportunity for the learning and the reexamination of important values and the socio-economic conditions of the community. Important African communitarian principles of caring for one another and the spirit of mutual support are fostered in the process of justice-making. It is also appreciated that the survival of the community depends on the well-being of the individual. An African word, Ubuntu better captures the underlying African world-view that expresses Africa’s egalitarian, humanistic, interconnectedness, communitarian and participatory democratic values. This study examines the principles and practices of African indigenous justice system in contemporary times and makes a case that these justice principles can be applied to justice making in the United States and other places. (Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now