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Pardon, punishment, and amnesia: three African post-conflict methods

Graybill, Lyn
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) Third World Quarterly. 25 (6):1117–1130.

Three post-conflict approaches have emerged on the African continent
during the past decade. ‘Pardon’, ‘punishment’ and ‘amnesia’ represent
different routes followed by South Africa, Rwanda and Mozambique in the
aftermath of conflict. What pragmatic considerations and cultural resources
predisposed each to pursue the path it did? This paper looks at the reasons for
the choice to hold a truth commission, to prosecute through trials or to forget
the past. It assesses the models’ effectiveness, and concludes with an observation
that they are not as distinct from each other as they first appear. South Africa,
Rwanda (after 2002) and Mozambique have all opted for approaches that
emphasised the priority of reintegrating perpetrators back into the community.
This goal may be served best by methods other than trials. (author’s abstract)


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