Victims first: lessons on justice and peace from Colombia and South Africa


Transitional justice processes increasingly recognise that victims should be their focus. In South Africa, restorative justice for victims was a key aim of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, alongside national reconciliation. In Colombia, 9 April commemorates the victims of the country’s internal armed conflict which has claimed at least 220 000 lives since 1958 – the vast majority of whom were civilians.

Both South Africa and Colombia have useful lessons on transitional justice and reparation processes. Through the perspectives of two victims, one from each country, this seminar explores the important role that victims play in achieving lasting justice and peace. Opportunities for African countries dealing with internal conflicts and transitions will also be discussed.

This seminar is co-hosted by the Colombian Embassy in South Africa and the Institute for Security Studies.

Chair: Allan Ngari, Senior Researcher, ISS


Hanif Vally, Deputy Director, Foundation for Human Rights

Juan Carlos Villamizar, victim of the armed conflict in Colombia

Candice Mama, victim of apartheid in South Africa

Picture: Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank

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