chapter  6
25 Pages

Angola: negative peace and autocracy in the shadow of impunity


Angola is in many ways the outlier in this book. Unlike Uruguay, Peru, and Rwanda, Angola has made no attempt to address the violations committed during the extended period of postcolonial war (1975-2002), in which hundreds of thousands – perhaps millions – of people died. Instead, the Angolan government passed a blanket amnesty law to shield all parties to the conflict from accountability for the massive violations. 1 This was done in connection with a third peace agreement signed in Luanda in 2002, after the first two – the Bicesse Accords of 1991 and the Lusaka Protocol of 1994 – had failed to prevent the outbreak of new violence. Impunity persisted throughout the various attempts at peacemaking and has remained unchallenged since the end of the war. In our view, the amnesty law of 2002 does not qualify as a transitional justice measure, because it is incompatible with the emerging internationally recognised ‘right to truth’ and with the longstanding right to justice to which relatives and survivors are entitled. 2 This chapter is therefore about how the absence of transitional justice may have affected processes of securing peace and constructing democracy after the end of a protracted civil war.