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SOCE145 Study Guide


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TRUTH COMMISSION AND RECONCILIATION - Truth commission is an official group tasked with discovering and revealing past wrongdoing by a government, in the hope of resolving conflict left over from the past GOALS: CHAPMAN/BELL o Their role is truth-finding, or more precisely, documenting and acknowledging a legacy of conflict and human rights violations as a step toward healing wounds o The purpose of the truth commission is to provide an authoritative account of a specific period or regime, determine the major causes of the violence, and make recommendations about measures to undertake so as to avoid a repetition in the future CROCKER o New democracy employed official truth commission to investigate systematic violations of internationally recognized human rights that may have been committed by a previous government. o Use to responds appropriately to past evil without undermining the new democracy or jeopardizing prospects for future developments DIFFICULITIES: unsuitable to provide the truth CHAPMAN/BELL o Operate under many of the same constraints that make the legal prosecution of individuals alleged to have committed political crimes so difficult Weak legal institutions Limited resources Missing data o The systematic suppression or destruction of incriminating evidences Example: records from a secret military archive detailing the fate of 200 victims who disappeared by the Guatemalan military were made available to several human rights organizations but not to the CEH in Guatemala Example: South Africa - the apartheid regime regularly purged the archives of huge volumes of sensitive documents, which deal with security issues o Most truth commissions rely on victims’ testimony as a primary source of data; however, memory changes over time. Public memories are like to be influenced by a variety of factors. o Facts may be loaded with different meanings when considered from divergent perspectives o The source of the victim testimony frequently is not the victim himself or herself but a relative - Micro level - - Macro level - truth commissions are expected to understand the causes of the violence and try leg abuses through extensive researches, advanced methods for data collection and processing, and a information management system leading to analysis and interpretation of the findings.
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