The Kilwa Massacre: Critical Analysis for a Southern Criminology


This paper explores the 2004 Kilwa massacre in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) through a decolonial perspective, explaining how the massacre is situated within the history of colonial power and global capitalist relations. As such, the convergence of mining and political interests that created the context in which this violence was possible is examined, rather than the specific human rights abuses committed during the massacre. This approach highlights how such acts of violence are an ongoing factor of colonial and postcolonial exploitation, as well as the difficulties in holding the responsible parties accountable. This investigation shows the importance of developing a decolonial Southern criminology that contextualizes human rights abuses within local and international systems of power and locates acts of criminal violence within the broader networks of structural violence.

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Published: 2020-04-07
Pages:135 to 147
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How to Cite
Lah, K. and Collins, A. (2020) “The Kilwa Massacre: Critical Analysis for a Southern Criminology”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 9(4), pp. 135-147. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.v9i2.1397.

Author Biographies

La Trobe University

Kim Lah is a graduate researcher in Crime, Justice and Legal Studies at La Trobe University. Her research interests broadly cover social justice, neo-colonialism and the law. Currently she is researching international law's relationship to colonialism, and its impact on the International Criminal Court. Her work weaves together notions of power with structural violence and legal philosophy.

La Trobe University

Dr Anthony Collins is an interdisciplinary social scientist and social justice activist at La Trobe University's Social Inquiry Department. Their work integrates a range of disciplines including criminology, cultural studies (including gender and decolonial studies) and psychology, with attention to culture and identity. Their primary focus is on violence and trauma, with specific attention to South Africa, both in terms of developing better critical conceptualization of violence in postcolonial settings, and more effective violence reduction interventions.