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“The Politics Fits the Crime”: Competing Interpretations of Victim Empowerment in South Africa

Simpson, Graeme
June 4, 2015

Source: (2000) Paper presented at the Crime and Policing in Transitional Societies conference held at South African Institute Of International Affairs. 30 August- 1 September. KONRAD ADENAUER STIFTUNG. Downloaded 25 June 03.

Graeme Simpson maintains in this paper that competing approaches to victim empowerment lie at the heart of debates over punitive and restorative models of justice in the newly democratized South Africa. The competing approaches and the consequent debates stem from the need to restore the integrity of the rule of law, while at the same time pursuing a supposedly victim-centered process of reconciliation based on truth recovery, victim testimony, and conditional amnesty for perpetrators of injustice. The debates are occurring within the criminal courts of the country and within South Africa’s national reconciliation initiatives, particularly through efforts such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Simpson explores these competing approaches and the challenges they present to societies attempting to work their way through issues of transitional justice.


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