7 December 2020
Andrew Songa graduated from our MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law (MTJ) back in 2019.
He currently serves as the Delegate to the African Union for the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). In this role, he is responsible for strengthening advocacy actions of FIDH and its member organizations towards the African Union (AU) by advising on FIDH’s advocacy strategy and organizing missions to the AU; representing FIDH at AU-organized meetings, and developing advocacy materials aimed at AU mandate holders and member States. One of the key themes he is involved in is the fight against impunity, which involves work towards furthering the implementation of the AU Transitional Justice Policy (AUTJP).
The programme creates a vibrant learning environment through a diverse student body with students from different parts of the world and possessing different skill sets such as law, political science, environmental studies and even computer science. The teaching faculty is equally diverse and consists of leading and eminent scholars who ensure a multidisciplinary approach to learning about transitional justice.
I enjoyed the fusion of theoretical and practical approaches to the teaching which allowed us as students to debate the concepts among ourselves while also engaging the course instructors in highly interactive sessions to explore the bounds of the concepts we were exposed to. There were also guest instructors who we were fortunate to engage with such as Pablo De Greiff. These interactions were essential in situating what we were learning into contemporary contexts. They also allowed us to gain insight into some of the deliberations that went into forming key normative texts of transitional justice.
The visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial as part of our MTJ study trip which brought into stark reality what I had read of the holocaust; and a guest lecture by Albie Sachs where he tapped into his experiences of fighting Apartheid and drafting the Freedom Charter.
The programme provided me with an opportunity to step back, consolidate and reflect on my past experiences in a way that I was not able to do while actively working. The result was a greater appreciation for how different disciplines and tactical approaches can be utilised to advance justice. I emerged from the programme as a strong advocate for transformative transitional justice.
Definitely. What I learned informs my current approach to policy analysis and has enabled me to identify linkages between transitional justice and contemporary issues such as climate change, illicit financial flows and interrogating the universality of human rights.
I would strongly recommend it to those interested in engaging the new frontiers of justice debates and engaging with some of the leading scholars and practitioners in the field of transitional justice.
Ten alumni – six from our LLM in IHL and Human Rights and two from our MAS in Transitional Justice – published an article in the new edition of the International Review of the Red Cross that features emerging voices in the field of humanitarian law, policy and action.
Our new Working Paper by Professor Olivier de Frouville, based on his keynote speech at the Geneva Academy 2021 Graduation Ceremony, discusses the need for – and existing premises – a Global Transitional Justice Process.