The Road to Justice: Lessons for Ukraine from the USSR Invasion of Afghanistan
In February 1989, the Union of Socialist Republics’ (‘USSR’) left Afghanistan following a ten-year invasion. Although an Action Plan for Peace, Reconciliation and Justice was drafted, in the quest for peace, justice for victims of the atrocities was never prioritised by authorities and the international community. Thirty-three years later, on 24 February 2022, President Putin of the Russian Federation announced the commencement of a ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine. Even as the invasion continues, questions remain as to how Ukraine will approach and implement transitional justice. Although there are clear differences between the invasions, if history is to be instructive, there is much to be learnt from the USSR invasion of Afghanistan, the response to it, and the Soviet legacy apparent in the Russian invasion of Ukraine which are of relevance to the transitional justice process in Ukraine and the international rule of law. Drawing on these historical perspectives, this paper aims to generate further discourse on peace, justice and accountability for victims, ensuring past mistakes are not repeated.