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Righting the Wrongs of Apartheid Justice for Victims and Unjust Profiteers

Kevin Hopkins and Christopher Roederer


In trying to come to grips with what is involved in righting the wrongs

of apartheid, we begin by pointing out unique challenges posed by

societies in transition. It is our position that the pursuit of justice is not

the same in transitional contexts as it is in stable democracies. As we

shall see, the transitional domain throws up several non-standard

obstacles in the way of fulfilling the imperatives of justice. After this

introduction to justice in transitions we will look more closely at the

relationship between justice and law in the context of political transformation

generally, and the specific relationship between justice and

international human rights law in this transformative process. Thereafter

we will address the pursuit of justice in respect of both

apartheid’s perpetrators as well as its victims—the discussion will,

however, be limited to the liability of those who fall outside the scope

of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) mandate. In that

regard, we will deal with violations of rights not specifically covered

by the TRC: odious apartheid debt owed to international legal entities;

other debt incurred by the apartheid state to private money-lending

institutions; the violation of international labour standards in the

apartheid state; and the unjust enrichment of foreign corporations at

the expense of black South Africans.

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