Rethinking reconciliation: the missing link between TRCs and the constructive participation of perpetrators




Shiota, Takuto

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Martha Minow argues that among the goals that a transitional justice system should pursue, reconciliation is equally as important as truth and justice. This is why in her view – and others who have argued similar lines – Truth and Reconciliation Commissions are not a “second best option” to trials. I argue that if we are to accept that reconciliation is a valuable goal, then the practical reality of pursuing reconciliation dictates a need to understand perpetrators in greater depth. This is because unlike truth and justice, reconciliation cannot be forced. Constructive participation is the only way that reconciliation can be achieved. In order to promote constructive participation, I argue that theorists need to do further research into what I call “perpetrator requirements”: the requirements that make perpetrators participate, and participate constructively. To do so, theorists should use an interdisciplinary approach, utilizing research from psychology, anthropology, political science, philosophy, and law.



Truth and Reconciliation Commission, transitional justice