Unfinished Business of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission

12 Aug 2021 - 08:30
Yasmin Sooka delivered a public lecture in her capacity as the Faculty of Humanities’ inaugural Honorary Research Fellow for Activism and Social Change

Yasmin Sooka, renowned human rights activist and the inaugural Faculty of Humanities’ inaugural Honorary Research Fellow for Activism and Social Change, presented a public lecture on 11 AUgust 2021 on the ongoing struggle for justice for victims of apartheid.

In her lecture titled, “Unfinished Business of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)”, former TRC commissioner and human rights lawyer Yasmin Sooka focused on why nobody has been prosecuted under the ‘Crime of Apartheid’ and how denial persists in our country that apartheid was declared a crime against humanity and that the apartheid state was a criminal state.

The TRC made a transitional compact with apartheid-era victims which allowed for a peaceful transition in 1994. The compact was translated into law and provided that the state would hold to account those perpetrators who had not applied for amnesty or who had been refused amnesty in accordance with the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act 34 of 1995.

In October 1998 the South African TRC handed the National Prosecutorial Authority (NPA), more than 300 cases for further investigation and prosecutions. The presentation will deal with the deliberate suppression of these cases by the Mbeki and Zuma administration’s respectively and the NPA and the struggle of the families of victims to ensure justice for the murder, torture and enforced disappearances of their loved ones.

The compact was accompanied by the commitment to a comprehensive reparations policy, which has also not been fully implemented and Sooka will deal with how post-conflict reconciliation in our country is impacted by the failure of redress.

In addition to being appointed to the TRC by former president Nelson Mandela, Sooka currently chairs the United Nations (UN) Commission on Human Rights for South Sudan and is an advisor to the Foundation for Human Rights on the Unfinished Business of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Previous positions include, a member on the United Nations Independent Review Panel Investigating Allegations of Sexual Abuse and Exploitation in Central African Republic; on the UN Panel of Experts advising the Secretary-General on Accountability for War Crimes in Sri Lanka; a member of the Independent Advisory Review Panel for UNICEF and; the Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights in South Africa.

Watch the full lecture here.

 

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