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New wars, new justice? Truth and reconciliation commissions as an essential aspect of the transitional justice framework in the case of the new wars in Sierra Leone and northern Uganda.

van Hooff, Suzanne
June 4, 2015

Source: (2008) MSc. Thesis. Political Science Department. University of Amsterdam.

In researching this question, I will approach truth- and reconciliation commissions not necessarily as a transitional justice mechanism in competition with more conventional legalmechanisms. Instead, I will look at their surplus value next to such legal mechanisms and I willexamine to what extent they can be complementary. My hypothesis is, that trials are in the endill-suited to deal with the subtleties of facing the past of new wars on their own. TRCs have thepotential to fill the gaps trials leave behind, and offer a richer, more comprehensive contributionto transitional justice, and can therefore be seen as essential in the case of new wars. I willexamine this through the cases of Sierra Leone and Uganda to show how new wars specificallyaffect a society, and how important the close examination of the specific conflict is in decidinghow to move forward. The recent wars in Sierra Leone and Uganda can both be characterized asnew wars and they took place during largely the same period. An important difference betweenthe two is that the war in Sierra Leone has ended, while the war in northern Uganda is stillongoing, despite the Juba peace talks. (excerpt)


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