Title

Healing a Nation, Is Truth Effective? A Comparative Look at South Africa and Argentina's Truth Commissions

Authors

Jessie Evans

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2004

Abstract

Withthe recent transfer of power back to the Iraqis, the global community must once again bear witness to the difficulties faced by a country in transition. Watching the effort towards stability in Iraq demonstrates that while the topic of transitional justice is complex, it is an extremely relevant study within international relations. Although organized truth telling across the globe has differed in name, leadership, and design, each commission shares the common goal of seeking restorationand justice for citizens who have been exposed to or victimized by widespread, state supported human right violations. Of the approximate twenty-three transitional bodies that fit under the category of ?truth commissions? to date there are two, Argentina and South Africa, which stand out for the legacies they left. Useful in illustrating the potential successes and failures of future truth commissions is a comparative look at Argentina?s Comisi?n Nacional sobre la Desaparici?n de Personas (CONADEP) and South Africa?s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Argentina and South Africa share the difficult task of addressing their country?s histories, plagued with systemic oppression and human rights violations. While Argentina?s 1983 commission is known more for its shortcomings than its successes, South Africa?s extremely successful commission has also faced the question of whether its truth seeking body, the TRC, is a miracle or model. A comparative look at these two countries and their truth commissions sheds light on some of the components that deem a truth commission ?successful? and how to replicate this success in other countries currently faced with dealing with the past.

Advisor

M. Reddy and L. Caldwell

Department

dwa

Support

Ford Research Fellowship

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