Howard Varney is a South African barrister practicing at the Johannesburg Bar. His legal practice comprises human rights, constitutional and administrative law cases.
He has appeared in the High Courts of South Africa as well as the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court. In the early 1990s Varney was an attorney with the Legal Resources Centre in Durban where he represented victims of political violence in public interest litigation, judicial inquests and commissions of inquiry and carried out unrest monitoring. In the mid-1990s he oversaw an independent criminal investigation in South Africa into state sponsored political violence on behalf of the Police Ministry.
Varney was the chief investigator for the Sierra Leone Truth & Reconciliation Commission. He has worked with the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor. Varney works with International Center for Transitional Justice on a broad transitional justice issues in Africa, Asia, the Balkans, Middle East and South America. He has also been involved in institutional reform projects involving the judiciary and the security sector. He has assisted with the development of transitional justice initiatives in several countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Americas and the Balkans. He continues to represent victims of past conflicts in the courts of South Africa to vindicate their rights. Varney has published on criminal justice issues, amnesty, commissions of inquiry, the relationship between tribunals and truth commissions, institutional reforms, community security and small arms control.