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Between Retribution and Restoration: Justice and the TRC

Allen, Jonathan
June 4, 2015

Source: (2001) South African Journal of Philosophy. 20(1): 22.

In this essay, with particular reference to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Jonathan Allen considers how, in a morally defensible way, a society can confront past trauma and injustice in order to break the hold of violence and disregard for human life. As part of this, Allen acknowledges the significance of Andre du Toit’s long and profound interest in philosophically exploring the ways in which truth commissions may function to consolidate political change. On this basis, Allen discusses the question whether the TRC’s conditional amnesty (i.e., amnesty for truth) represented moral compromise or transitional justice; restorative justice and the TRC; and recognition of victims, retributivism, and the TRC.


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