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Restorative Justice, on the other hand, is a “way of dealing with wrongs done to people by others within their community, whereby offenders are confronted with their personal responsibility in causing harm to someone and subsequent necessity to make some kind of restitution to the victim.” The goal, as was done and achieved in post-Apartheid South Africa, is the breaking of barriers built during animositic periods between and among various then warring camps or tribes and the ushering in of the beginning of genuine forgiveness and true reconciliation that would spell the end of the cycle of racial or ethnic hatred and violence in the country.
Compensatory Justice demands that “those who have been wrongfully harmed deserved compensation for that harm, and that the amount of compensation again be proportionate to the degree of harm suffered.” It is in the principle of just compensation that major focus is placed on the victims of wrongdoings and what they deserve as measure by their losses.
Any reckless measures, even if meant for the overall betterment of the nation, would just but revive and reignite the bitter memories of the war time antagonism.
Justification for not pursuing the persecution of war-time atrocities in South Sudan But if South Sudan can’t achieve meaningful peace without first addressing the question of real justice for the victims of war-time atrocities, how then could it possibly reconcile the dilemma of bringing justice to the victims of the violence and thus attain real peace and true reconciliation without destabilizing the country?
What does this mean for the Republic of South Sudan?
For the republic of South Sudan, this would mean that, in order to halt the cycles of violence, save lives and property, and bring peace and development to the country, suspected wrongdoers of all kinds of war-time atrocities, must be punished and justice must be delivered to the victims of the indiscriminate violence meted out upon innocent civilians either by the SPLM/A or the Nasir camp.
Secondly, there are cocktails of other age-old ethnic feuds that date back to the pre-colonial era between the Nuer and the Dinka Bor communities which were rekindled, fueled and exacerbated by the 1991 split in the SPLM/A that unfortunately went along tribal lines.
The principles of just retribution is “the ethical idea that those who have wrongfully harmed others deserve to be harm in return, and that the amount of harm they deserve should be proportionate to the amount of harm they inflicted on those others.” This, according to Christensen, is call retributive justice because “crime must be punished, and the punishment must fit the crime” committed.This is so especially the case in various countries where impunity has entrenched itself among the ruling class, with politicians becoming politically reckless and ethnically provocative uttering words meant to brew and instigate ethnicized violence pitting one tribe against the other.In those countries, it is feared that those deep-rooted cultures of unaccountability and state sanctioned impunity would breed political complacency on the part of country leadership wherein any future political dispute among the ruling gurus would be seen as the norm rather than the exception.The argument being that only when the rule of law is upheld could there be real reconciliation and long lasting peace among the people of South Sudan as fairness would only be achievable in the course of delivering justice and in deterring would-be future perpetrators of violence.Thus, were we to trace that trail undertaken in Rwanda for the sake of long lasting peace and to break the cycle of impunity and relentless violence in the country, the principle of restorative, retributive and compensatory justice both inform and oblige us to pursue the action of seeking justice for the victims of the violence and to hold the culprits fully responsible for their actions.