In 2019 Angola began a process to heal the wounds of the civil war that gripped the country for 27 years (1975-2002). A reconciliation commission has been set up to heal the psychological wounds of affected families. Very little is known about the factors that contribute to the success or failure of reconciliation processes that are essential for lasting peace.
The aim of the (PhD) project ‘A New Dawn for Angola? A Case Study of Angola’s Delayed Transitional Justice Process’ is to gain a better insight into these factors. These insights can then contribute to both the Angolan process and similar processes in other countries.
The purpose of the project is to assess whether the reconciliation commission is achieving its objectives. In addition, it examines how the population sees the work of the commission and, more generally, the importance of reconciliation: Is there a need to look back at a painful past, or do people rather look ahead towards the future?
The research project consists of a literature review of similar processes in other countries and of two empirical parts:
- an analysis of the work of the reconciliation commission
- an analysis of how its work is seen by a representative part of the population of 2 different urban centers (Benguela and Huambo) in Angola.
We will use different research methods such as semi-structured interviews with a wide range of stakeholders in the reconciliation commission (government, opposition, NGOs, victim organisations, academics) and a survey of residents of the 2 selected urban centers.
The research is done in collaboration with the Law Faculty of the Katyvala Bwila University in Benguela (Angola). Both PhD supervisors are affiliated with the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Criminology.
Study programme THUAS
The project is funded by the NWO PhD grant for teachers.
The duration of the project is from September 2022 to August 2027.
Blogs on Justiceinfo.net by Maarten van Munster en Joris van Wijk:
- January 2020: ‘Angola: the Pandora Box of Embracing and Forgiving’
- June 2021: ‘Public Apologies in Angola, but for whom?’
- April 2023: ‘Mistaken identities: how Angola’s reconciliation process derailed’
Maarten van Munster