A Snake Gives Birth to a Snake: Politics and Crime in the Transition to Democracy in South Africa

A Snake Gives Birth to a Snake: Politics and Crime in the Transition to Democracy in South Africa

In and of itself, the brief account of the murder of an eight month-old baby along with the baby's mother in the course of a massacre partially explained as political motivation during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings, with 17  co-conspirators granted amnesty for their actions, gives ample substance to the moral and legal controversy that surrounded the TRC's amnesty process in South Africa. In particular, it draws attention to the argument that this process compromised rather than enhanced endeavors to rebuild the credibility and integrity of a justice system inherited from apartheid. This document will critically analyze the South African TRC as an innovative approach within the evolving field of 'transitional justice', the processes and various facets the commission explored.


Graeme Simpson
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Graeme Simpson, Co-founder of CSVR and former Executive Director, is an experienced peacebuilder with international expertise in violence, reconciliation and transitional justice. He holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from The University of the Witwatersrand, Master's degree History from the University of The Witwatersrand and BA Hons History; African Politics; Industrial sociology from The University of the Witwatersrand.

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