Transitional Justice and the Future of Democratic Transition in Sudan

Dr. Yassir M. Alobaid – Khartoum

Democracy is not just a ritual for voting, elections, victory and defeat, but rather an integrated process, a multiplicity of opinions, freedom of expression and thought in line with the nation’s constants. It is also the multi-party political system, honest political competition system, free and comprehensive pluralistic elections systems, a system for basic rights, justice, human rights, ethics and sovereignty standards.

The rule of law and holding the rulers accountable is the safety valve for the success of democracy, and it is greater than just the rule of the majority.

For even the majority can practice tyranny and administrative and social corruption on the minority, including intellectual and ideological ethnicities. Democratic transformation needs to consolidate the pillars of democracy, which comes on top of good governance, rational opposition, a strong civil society, strong economics and change.

The system has transcended the paths of democracy, addresses the challenges of the state and the system through the triangle of government, opposition and society, and deals with threats collectively, and entrenches the rational political culture upon which society is based.

It is possible to judge the quality and extent of democracy by the degree of freedom, equality and the extent of the participation in the public spheres that are shaped by the intellectual, religious and cultural assumptions of society and governed politically by elected representative institutions based on broad-based suffrage and competitive elections.

Democracy is a general discussion of issues of common interest, a shared destiny for all, rights for all, freedom for everyone, justice for all, and peace for all.

The nature of governance as an art and a decision-making process is the most important measure for judging the nature of democratic transformation, and this comes in the context of what the World Bank recently published in 2007 about a study related to global governance indicators in six dimensions:

  • Freedom of expression
  • Joining institutions and groups,
  • Political stability
  • Nonviolence.

The efficiency of the government at the level of public services and the level of civil service, the rule of law and the fight against corruption. The positive effects of these six standards seem to be of no need to clarify.

But if we carefully consider them, we find that the government’s efficiency does not necessarily mean that everyone benefits from the government’s economic performance, and the efficiency of its economic policy.

Indicators of good governance have impacts on economic and political development, and it is easy to get out with results if there is a positive link between democratic transition and economic growth, as in the case of Botswana.

It can be said that successive democratic governments played a positive role in the economic performance of the country and Mauritius, with its GDP of 13,700 US dollars, which proves that there is a link between democracy and economic growth.

The presence of a free, active press, an independent judiciary, respect for human rights on the part of the authorities, and the absence of financial and administrative corruption have contributed to transforming Botswana and Mauritius into model democracies in Africa.

Botswana is considered one of the African success stories politically and economically, Rwanda and South Africa being the best models in the applying of transitional justice and democratic transformation.

 Sudan aspires to do that in this sensitive phase of its history after achieving the glorious December revolution, which came in highly complex local and regional circumstances, in which Sudan was trying to address the governance problems that have besieged it since independence.

After many political fluctuations in government from military to civilian, democratic or totalitarian, and after the secession of South Sudan, that road became paved for a consensus, specifically the Juba Peace Agreement.

The Juba Agreement achieved a great deal of national political compromise, therefore, the matter needs political rationalization to cross from the tunnel of political fluctuations and recourse to a comprehensive national project that achieves political and economic stability through the application of the foundations of transitional justice, which needs a deep knowledge of the concepts of term and content.

The consideration is part of the African experience and that political institutions avoid the possibility of falling into a partial understanding when applying transitional justice with a partial or mainstream understanding.

The term is often used in a limited sense, which is criminal justice, as if it is merely prosecuting the accused criminally.

This is part of a complete process and a realistic and applicable project. Transitional justice is not limited to punishment for past crimes only, but rather includes collective cooperation towards a future of political and security stability and socio-economic transformation.

The Rwandan experience is considered an application of the rational model in the applying of justice, which came after the 1994 genocide, as well as after the first post-apartheid elections in South Africa.

Moving away from the divisions of the past and establishing a society based on democratic values, social justice, equality and basic human rights.

Especially since the important starting point in political transformations facing societies in their transition from a totalitarian state to a form of democracy is the system of government and the consolidation of the rule of law without compromise or bias.

That helps achieve political change and economic and social transformation which leads to the renaissance.

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