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The truth about Truth Commissions: Why they do not function optimally in post-conflict societies

September 14, 2014

In post-authoritarian contexts, the state generally perpetrates abuses against citizens. However, in post-conflict contexts, while the state may be implicated in abuses—mass violence also envelopes individuals, with neighbor turning against neighbor, engulfing whole communities. 

The interventions needed following transitions from periods of repressive rule or conflicts are quite different. Posner and Vermuele have argued elsewhere “that the kind of transition affects the kind of transitional justice that will occur.” This Article argues that the kind of transition should determine the kind of transitional justice institution utilized. 

For example, the need for “truth” takes on much more significance in a post-authoritarian context where “deception is so central to the abuses,” while in post-conflict contexts where abuses are not “hidden” and were committed openly, “truth” in and of itself takes on much less significance. Yet, the same institution is usually employed in drastically different circumstances.

Citations omitted. Read the whole article.


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