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The moral foundations of the South African TRC: Truth as acknowledgment and justice as recognition.

du Toit, André
June 4, 2015

Source: (2000) In Truth v. justice: The morality of truth commissions, eds. Robert I. Rotberg and Dennis Thompson, 122-140. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Truth commissions arise and operate at the intersection of morality and politics. That is, they are political projects, yet they are also informed to a considerable degree by moral notions and objectives. With this in mind, du Toit investigates the moral foundations of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Particular attention is paid to the TRC’s constitutive moral conceptions, which du Toit terms “truth as acknowledgmentâ€? and “justice as recognition.â€? The argument is that these core moral notions provide a justifiable and coherent conception of transitional justice which does not intrinsically or necessarily involve a moral compromise sacrificing justice for truth and reconciliation. To make his argument, du Toit discusses the following subjects: moral conceptions of truth commissions as historical founding projects; diagnosing the needs of transitional justice; the changing meanings of truth and reconciliation in the TRC; truth as acknowledgment; and justice as recognition.


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