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The Legal Profession and the TRC: A Study of a Tense Relationship

Rombouts, Heidy
June 4, 2015

Source: (2002) Research Paper. Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation. February. Downloaded 8 June 2004.

As societies make a transition from regimes of gross human rights violations to more democratic systems, they can confront the past with various options ranging from large-scale criminal prosecutions to unconditional amnesty. In such transitions, the legal profession often plays an important role, especially when the formal, juridical option of criminal prosecutions is pursued. Heidy Rombouts points out, however, that in the context of a truth commission – which is not a judicial body, and which is not primarily concerned with assigning guilt and punishment – the role of the legal profession is neither evident nor clear. Through this research project, Rombouts examines the many questions clustering around the role of the legal profession in a society where a truth commission is central to the transition. To highlight the issues, she focuses on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the legal profession in South Africa.


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