The Transnationalization of Truth: A Meditation on Sri Lanka and Honduras

Ethics in Action, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 36-96, 2011

Osgoode CLPE Research Paper No. 07/2011

64 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2011 Last revised: 21 Oct 2014

See all articles by Craig Scott

Craig Scott

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Date Written: February 10, 2011


The present article is an elaboration of the text prepared for a lecture, delivered in London, England, on Tuesday, October 19, 2010, as part of the Centre for Transnational Legal Studies’ annual Transnational Justice Lecture series. A prior version appeared as a working paper in the Osgoode CLPE Research Paper Series. The present Ethics in Action published version contains both a number of important edits and several substantive additions (notably to section III on Honduras) subsequent to the Osgoode CLPE Research Paper. The paper begins, in Section II, with general comments on a notion of “interactive diversity of knowledge” and how that connects up to a view about the nature of truth. Sections III and IV then present salient aspects of events in both Honduras and Sri Lanka over the last two years, with the coup d’ état of 28 June 2009, in Honduras and the bloody end to the civil war in Sri Lanka in spring 2009 as fulcrums of the narrative. In each case, emphasis is also placed on the establishment of truth-related commissions or panels in relation to each country. The paper ends with a discussion of three interconnected quandaries - the inside/outside quandary; the consistency and fairness quandary; and the timing quandary. The discussion of the timing (or staging) quandary offers some provisional thinking on the sequencing of processes related to truth, justice and reconciliation, offering some reasons not to fuse truth-seeking processes with either criminal justice or reconciliation processes - with special reference to the Sri Lanka context.

Keywords: transitional justice, transnational, transnational justice, comparative law, truth, reconciliation, criminal justice, Sri Lanka, Honduras, United Nations, truth commissions, Guatemala, Spain, France, Germany, Transición, Épuration, fairness, hypocrisy, double standards, United States, Rule of Law

JEL Classification: K 39

Suggested Citation

Scott, Craig M., The Transnationalization of Truth: A Meditation on Sri Lanka and Honduras (February 10, 2011). Ethics in Action, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 36-96, 2011, Osgoode CLPE Research Paper No. 07/2011, Available at SSRN:

Craig M. Scott (Contact Author)

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )



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