Truth with Consequences: Justice and Reparations in Post-Truth Commission Peru
Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 29, pp. 228-250, 2007
23 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2008 Last revised: 25 Jun 2016
Date Written: December 4, 2008
Truth commissions have become key mechanisms in transitional justice schemes in post conflict societies in order to assure transitions to peace, the rule of law, and respect for human rights. However, few studies examine what must happen to ensure that the transition process initiated by a truth commission successfully continues after the commission concludes its truth-gathering work and submits its final report. This article argues that while attention often focuses on prosecutions and institutional reforms, reparations also play a critical role. The authors share their observations of how government agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), civil society sectors and victim-survivor's associations struggle over reparations in post truth commission Peru, offering a preliminary analysis of key theoretical suppositions about transitional justice: they explore whether the act of telling the truth to an official body is something that helps or hinders a victim-survivor in his or her own recovery process, and whether in giving testimonies victim-survivors place particular demands upon the state. The authors conclude that while testimony giving may possibly have temporary cathartic effects, it must be followed by concrete actions. Truth tellers make an implicit contract with their interlocutors to respond through acknowledgement and redress.
Keywords: human rights, reparations, truth commission, transitional justice, justice
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