The case for judicial accountability in transitional societies

Yusuf, Hakeem O. (2022). The case for judicial accountability in transitional societies. In: Yusuf, Hakeem O. and van der Merwe, Hugo eds. Transitional Justice: Theories, Mechanisms and Debates. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 186–206.



This chapter sets out a case for accountability of the judiciary for its role in governance in a troubled society. It proceeds as follows. The first part examines the powers of the state generally and the role of the judiciary specifically. The chapter moves on to discuss the role of the judiciary in authoritarian regimes. The third part focuses on the case for judicial accountability for the past. The fourth part examines some of the consequences of the lack of judicial accountability during and after the period of political change through the Nigerian and South African political transitions. The chapter concludes that judicial accountability is crucial to the legitimacy and institutional integrity of the judiciary, both of which are important to the rule of law, particularly in the transition context. Preserving judicial independence can be raised as a strong objection to seeking accountability of the judiciary through a truth-seeking mechanism.

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