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See detailSouth Africa’s incomplete transition towards socio-economic justice: A case study on inequality and populism
Owiso, Owiso UL; Boshoff, Elsabé

in Diritti Umani e Diritto Internazionale (in press)

South Africa is currently one of the world’s most unequal countries, with massive income inequality, millions of people living in poverty without access to basic services and amenities, unemployment rates ... [more ▼]

South Africa is currently one of the world’s most unequal countries, with massive income inequality, millions of people living in poverty without access to basic services and amenities, unemployment rates consistently above 20% and the top 10% of the population receiving two thirds of the total income. Government economic policies on poverty reduction in the decades since the advent of democracy in South Africa in 1994 have been unable to eradicate the extreme racialised inequality which was the basis of the 342 years of colonialism and apartheid which were characterised by systematic dispossession and socio-economic marginalisation of South Africa’s majority Black population and the systematic privileging of the minority White population. While this history is not the primary focus of this paper, it nonetheless provides useful context. The paper’s primary focus is on the more recent normative and legal challenges of post-1994 South Africa that have resulted in further entrenching socio-economic inequality and contributing to the rise of populism. In this paper we argue that the dire living conditions of a large proportion of the population and disillusionment with the State’s ability to deliver on its promises in this regard, along with the poor implementation of social and economic rights have led to the development of a populist culture in South African politics. [less ▲]

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See detailPlea bargaining at the International Criminal Court: Introducing transformative justice aspects prevalent in African cultures
Oyugi, Phoebe; Owiso, Owiso UL

in Leyh, Brianne McGonigle; Fraser, Julie (Eds.) Intersections of law and culture at the International Criminal Court (in press)

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See detailSeeking 'truth' after devastating, multi-layered conflict: The complex case of transitional justice in South Sudan
Owiso, Owiso UL

Presentation (2019, September 07)

Barely three years after seceding from Sudan following five decades of armed struggle against systematic marginalisation and oppression, South Sudan descended into a protracted civil war from 15 December ... [more ▼]

Barely three years after seceding from Sudan following five decades of armed struggle against systematic marginalisation and oppression, South Sudan descended into a protracted civil war from 15 December 2013 when President Salva Kiir and Deputy President Riek Machar fell out. The signing of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan on 17 August 2015 after almost two years of devastating conflict thus signalled hope for the beginning of the long process of reconciliation and social (re)construction in South Sudan. This hope was, however, short-lived when, barely eleven months after the signing of the Agreement, Kiir and Machar fell out again and the civil war continued. Again, the concerted efforts of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, supported by the African Union and other international stakeholders, secured a recommitment to the 2015 Agreement by Kiir, Machar and a host of other splinter rebel groups on 12 September 2018 in the form of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-Agreement). The conflict was characterised by widespread and systematic violations of human rights and humanitarian law possibly amounting to international crimes committed by all parties to the conflict, most of which have been painstakingly documented by multiple entities including the African Union Commission of Inquiry into South Sudan, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of internally Displaced Persons and civil society organisations. In order to deal with the legacy of the conflict, the R-Agreement provides a transitional justice roadmap for South Sudan which includes proposals for the creation of the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing (the Commission), the Compensation and Reparation Authority and the Hybrid Court for South Sudan (Hybrid Court). The objective of this paper is to examine the potential of the Commission to contribute towards sustainable transitional justice solutions in South Sudan, based on contemporary standards and practice of transitional justice. The paper adopts (i) a historical approach in order to understand the context of truth-seeking in South Sudan and history’s influence on the R-Agreement’s transitional justice provisions, and (ii) descriptive and analytical approaches in examining the proposed design and operation of the Commission. The paper also draws inspiration from truth-seeking experiences in other countries and explores possibilities for learning. Notably, South Sudan is still restive and as such, the analysis in this paper is set against the background of a society caught in the uncertain and ambiguous state between conflict and post-conflict. Therefore, while exploring its key objective, the paper also grapples with the complex question of when a society can be considered to be ‘ripe’ for transitional justice intervention. [less ▲]

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See detailThe International Criminal Court and Reparations: Judicial Innovation or Judicialisation of a Political Process?
Owiso, Owiso UL

in International Criminal Law Review (2019), 19(3), 501-531

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court bestows reparative powers upon the court, a significant development in international criminal justice. However, the court still struggles to ... [more ▼]

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court bestows reparative powers upon the court, a significant development in international criminal justice. However, the court still struggles to effectively exercise this mandate. This article proceeds on the assumption that reparations for mass atrocities are best handled through domestic political processes rather than international criminal justice processes. The article interrogates the effectiveness of the court’s reparative powers by testing them as against the court’s practice, specifically in the Lubanga, Katanga and Al-Mahdi cases. The article concludes that despite noble intentions, practical realities and difficulties make doubtful the court’s suitability as a reparative forum for mass atrocities. Nevertheless, in the absence of a more suitable alternative for effective and meaningful reparations, the article proposes policy reforms to achieve robust reparative complementarity between the court and transitional states, and complementarity between the court’s reparative mandate and the Trust Fund for Victims’ assistance mandate. [less ▲]

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See detailThe proposed Hybrid Court for South Sudan: Moving South Sudan and the African Union to action against impunity
Owiso, Owiso UL

in African Journal on Conflict Resolution (2018), 18(2), 87-113

The 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan provides quite ambitiously and laudably for the creation of the Hybrid Court for South Sudan under the auspices of the ... [more ▼]

The 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan provides quite ambitiously and laudably for the creation of the Hybrid Court for South Sudan under the auspices of the African Union. The article is an extract from the author’s 2016 LL.M. dissertation submitted to the University of Pretoria. It critically examines the salient features of the proposed court with the aim of testing the court’s ability to effectively address historical grievances and injustices in South Sudan. In so doing, the article draws lessons from similar mechanisms in Africa and beyond. It also interrogates the role of the African Union and South Sudan in operationalising this court. It reveals strengths as well as weaknesses in the proposed design of the court as well as in the ability of the African Union and South Sudan to fulfil their obligations. Despite these weaknesses, the article argues that by harnessing the strengths identified and learning from lessons from across the continent, the African Union (AU) and South Sudan can overcome the anticipated challenges and operationalise a hybrid court which will effectively deliver sustainable justice to the victims of international crimes committed during the South Sudan civil war. [less ▲]

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See detailIntractable conflicts in Africa: The international response to the Darfur and South Sudan crises
Owiso, Owiso UL; Boshoff, Elsabé; Mamhare, Tapiwa et al

in Global Campus Human Rights Journal (2017), 1(2), 287-314

This article considers the intractable conflicts and human rightssituations in Darfur, Sudan and South Sudan, respectively, against theinternational responses they elicited. Intractable conflicts are ... [more ▼]

This article considers the intractable conflicts and human rightssituations in Darfur, Sudan and South Sudan, respectively, against theinternational responses they elicited. Intractable conflicts are conflicts that havelasted for a long time with resistance to settlement despite various attempts atintervention and conciliation. These conflicts from neighbouring nations haveboth elicited extensive engagement from the international and regionalcommunities but, while some clarity regarding the direction to be taken has beenachieved in the case of South Sudan, the situation in Darfur remains dire. Thearticle analyses the difference in the peace-building approaches in the twoconflicts and how these approaches have contributed to the different outcomes inDarfur and South Sudan. Following an exposition of intractability in theintroduction, the second section applies the factors identified to the case ofDarfur, confirming that this indeed is an intractable situation. It then considersthe international response to the conflict in Darfur and the mechanismsemployed by the global and the regional community in an attempt to addressthis conflict. The third section considers the situation in South Sudan and theinternational response, noting that efforts were led by the regional and sub-regional bodies, with the UN’s role being to complement these efforts. Themethodology employed is a comparative analysis, in which the internationaland regional legal and institutional responses to the crisis in South Sudan areanalysed with a view to identifying the lessons to be applied in addressing thesituation in Darfur, utilising theoretical and functional approaches to legal andpolitical interventions. The final section draws from the insights gained incomparing the international response in Darfur and South Sudan, and concludesby attempting to extract general principles about intractability and theeffectiveness of international responses to situations considered to be intractable,noting in particular the importance of regional and sub-regional bodies takingthe lead in efforts to resolve intractable conflicts. [less ▲]

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See detailPan-Africanism and development in the twenty-first century: A critical analysis of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development
Boshoff, Elsabé; Owiso, Owiso UL

in Addaney, Michael; Nyarko, Michael Gyan (Eds.) Ghana @ 60: Governance and human rights in twenty-first century Africa (2017)

In this chapter, we explore the Pan-African influence in the design and implementation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) framework with the aim of highlighting the place of Pan ... [more ▼]

In this chapter, we explore the Pan-African influence in the design and implementation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) framework with the aim of highlighting the place of Pan-Africanism in twenty-first century regional cooperation and development of Africa. The chapter highlights the strong influence of the Pan-African ideals and thoughts of independent Africa’s founding leaders such as Kwame Nkrumah, Sédar Senghor, Sékou Touré and Kambarage Nyerere in the NEPAD framework. The chapter argues that these ideals are as sound today as they were when they were first articulated. However, it identifies teething challenges in the framework’s implementation such as the misapplication or misconstruction of the Pan-African ideals underpinning NEPAD. As a way forward, the chapter suggests practical ways of objectively auditing NEPAD’s performance by revisiting and recommitting to its Pan-African founding principles. With revitalised Pan-Africanism, the chapter argues that the NEPAD framework can facilitate the rediscovery of the shared aspirations of African peoples to actively participate in the common development and prosperity of Africa. [less ▲]

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See detailActualising women’s participation in politics and governance in Africa: The case of Kenya and Ghana
Owiso, Owiso UL; Sefah, Bright

in African Human Rights Yearbook (2017), 1

Almost two decades into the 21st century, women are still not accorded a place of prominence in politics and governance, particularly in Africa. Using the examples of Kenya and Ghana, this article ... [more ▼]

Almost two decades into the 21st century, women are still not accorded a place of prominence in politics and governance, particularly in Africa. Using the examples of Kenya and Ghana, this article undertakes a critical analysis of the implementation of women’s right to participation in political and decision-making processes in Africa with a view to highlighting progress made, challenges faced and possible solutions to these challenges. Women’s right to participation in political life is enshrined in article 9 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (African Women’s Rights Protocol). The article argues that while some progress has been made towards implementing the above right, much more still needs to be done to achieve effective and transformative participation by women. The progress revealed is mainly in the domestication by national laws of the relevant international obligations. However, the article also notes a significant disconnect between the normative framework and actual participation of women. The two case studies expose an unimpressive lack of political will and persistent societal perceptions, together contributing to the failure to move beyond codification of laws to improvements in actual practice. With lessons learnt from these two countries, this article argues for collaborative effort among African countries to promote genuine intra-Africa learning allowing African states to share experiences, consolidate gains and innovate around common challenges. By so doing, African states can consolidate efforts towards breaking the current inertia and accelerate the actual implementation of article 9 of the African Women’s Rights Protocol. Overall, the article cast a spotlight on the need to refocus debates from standard-setting to actual implementation necessary to achieve transformative equality. [less ▲]

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See detailArbitrary home demolitions in Zimbabwe and the right to adequate shelter: Case study of Arlington estate, Harare
Owiso, Owiso UL

in ESR Review (2016), 17(3), 7-11

Zimbabwe’s human rights obligations under international and domestic laws secure the rights to property, adequate shelter, freedom from arbitrary evictions, protection and benefit of the law, fair ... [more ▼]

Zimbabwe’s human rights obligations under international and domestic laws secure the rights to property, adequate shelter, freedom from arbitrary evictions, protection and benefit of the law, fair administrative action and due process. Despite these protections, however, the government has repeatedly and arbitrarily demolished homes in urban areas particularly in Harare in apparent disregard of these rights. This article presents the findings of a field study conducted in Harare in April 2016 following the demolition of over 100 homes in Harare’s Arlington suburb in January 2016. The methodology included a site visit of demolished homes and interviews with victims of the demolitions, the victims’ lawyers, members of civil society, journalists, officials of residents’ associations and the national human rights institution in Harare between 11 April - 15 April 2016. This primary data was complemented with a desk review of available literature. The study uses the Arlington evictions as a representative case study of what has emerged over the last few years as a pattern. The article therefore examines home demolitions and evictions in Harare with particular focus on the Arlington demolitions vis-a-vis Zimbabwe’s legal obligations under both domestic and international law. The findings reveal ambiguities in Zimbabwe’s domestic legal framework; an unregulated land allocation system; political indiscipline; and government bureaucracy and departmental infighting as some factors that have created room for the widespread arbitrary demolitions and related violations of human rights. The article concludes by making targeted recommendations. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 25 (6 UL)