Retributive, Restorative and Political Justice Forms in Relation to South African Experience

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Defining Retributive, Restorative and political justices:
How they were applied to the South African context
And the South African reconciliation process

Retributive Justice:
This type of justice is common in legal system by giving punishment equal to the harm done by the perpetuator. Every crime has its equal punishment is a general norm practiced in all cultures. In the Hebrew Scripture, the Mosaic law defines this as eye to eye or blood calls for blood. A victim is generally expects to see the same pain has to be experienced by his/her oppressor. Many affected people and their representatives in South Africa demanded that all the perpetrators be brought under trial. After having the experience of Nuremberg trials on war criminals, many expected to do so in South Africa. Nuremberg was a story of defeated nation was faced trials with vengeance. There were many debates on this justice practice and that created an important issue in South African case.

Judge Marvin frankel wrote that the call to punish human rights criminals can present complex and agonizing problems that have no single or simple solution. The trials on war criminals of a defeated nation can divide a country when it undertakes to punish its own violators. The human rights criminals are fellow citizens, loving alongside everyone else, and they may be very powerful and dangerous. If they treated too harshly, there may be a backlash.

For the South African government, they found many practical difficulties with the Nuremberg model trials. In the existing legal system of South Africa, they produced the cases of Colonel Eugene De Kock, the former head of a police death squad, General Magnus Malam, former Minister of defense and many other generals. But the newly elected government had to spend a lot for the prosecution, bureaucracy and for the witness protection. It was considered that couldn’t be afforded such expenses while there was other important development sectors need to be...
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