Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Angola's Protracted Oil Conflict: The Cycle of Oil Violence & Victims

Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Angola's Protracted Oil Conflict: The Cycle of Oil Violence & Victims

Article excerpt


The atrocious civil war which had plagued the people of Angola for more than two decades came to a decisive end in 2002. Conceivably, the drawn-out conflict left the national economy, infrastructure and inhabitants of oil region in tatters. Therefore, this article will analyse the concept of victims and victimology and the likely impact of Angola's oil exploration on Cabinda's inhabitants. It will further investigate the impasse between Luanda and Cabinda from the perspective of the impact of oil revenues, of which a significant proportion is derived from the latter's oil fields, on Angola's overall fiscal governance and allocation to Cabinda's inhabitants. Additionally, the analysis will explore the corollary of Cabinda's plight on multinational oil companies, as well as their reaction to the crisis.

Introduction: Victims & Victimology

Victimology is a relatively recent field of study, having gained credence and global relevance over the past forty years. Victimology particularly deals with the study of victims and victimization. The most widely accepted definition of the victim has been developed by the United Nations Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime & Abuse of Power in 1985;

"persons, who, individually or collectively, have suffered harm, including physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss or substantial impairment of their fundamental rights, through acts or omissions that are in violation of criminal laws operative within Member States, including those laws proscribing criminal abuse of power. "*

Prior to the global prevalence of Victimology as distinct field of study in the 1970s, the subject area was traditionally a component of study within the discipline of criminology. It is however important to note that Victimology continues to thrive on a non-mutually exclusive relationship with criminology, criminal law and sociology among other areas of study. Succinctly expressed, Victimology is the study of victimization. Victimology represents the study of the interaction between victims of crimes and the perpetrators of such acts. The interactional dynamics of Victimology also include the relationship between victims and the criminal justice system, the state and law enforcement institutions, as well as media, businesses, and social movements.

The study of the victim and Victimology gained global academic recognition and prevalence in 1948 with the book titled 'The Criminal and his Victim', written by German criminologist Hans Von Hentig, based on a prior article published in 1941.* In the subsequent decades, the term Victimology' was coined by Beniamin Mendelsohn, a Romanian- turned Israeli criminal law scholar in 1947. The development of the term was premised on the emergent dynamics of the interaction between the victim and the offender in criminology studies.+ Other leading scholars in the field of Victimology, including Schafer elaborated the definition of Victimology to include the interactions between the offender and the victim before, during and after the actual criminal act. Moreover, a seminal publication titled The Victim and His Criminal: A Study into Functional Responsibility' placed further emphasis on the responsibility of the perpetrator of the crime to adequately compensate the victim.*

Following the publication of seminal works on Victimology as mentioned above, the contention that the victim held a central role in the overall paradigm of criminal acts gained prominence within broader social and political perspectives of victimization. Moreover, growing recognition of the importance of Victimology provided impetus for the endorsement of the field at the institutional level. Among several internationally accepted organisations aimed at promoting the general struggle for the rights of victims include the World Society of Victimology (WSW) as the longest-serving global body. The (WSW) was established in Germany in 1979 by group of leading criminologists with the aim of advancing academic research and practical undertakings in the field on an international scale. …

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