Provides a listing of articles on restorative justice developments in Guatemala. Articles appear in the order in which they were added to the site with the most recent appearing first.
- Handy, Jim. Reimagining Guatemala: Reconciliation and the Indigenous Accords.
- In this discussion, I explore both why this alteration [in Guatemala conceptions of society] is necessary and suggest why it is so difficult. To do the former, I explore briefly the history of marginalization of the Maya in Guatemala and how the marginalization was central to the non-Maya conception of the Guatemalan nation. I will then turn to a discussion of the ways in which the marginalization was challenged in the latter half of the twentieth century and how that challenge helped precipitate the worst period of violence. This will be followed by a discussion of the ways in which Mayan revitalization after 1985 helped lead to the ending of the civil war and the signing of the Peace Accords in 1996. I will examine the conflicts that have emerged in Guatemala concerning indigenous rights. Finally, I will explore briefly the disappointing history of what has been done since the signing of the accords, focusing on the recent failed attempt to constitutional change. (excerpt)
- Valji, Nahla. Race, Citizenship and Violence in Transitioning Societies: A Guatemalan case study
- The CSVR Race and Citizenship in Transition Series has set out to examine the ways in which ordinary citizens engage with issues of race and citizenship in a post-transitional society, ten years into the country's democracy. The goal of the project is to understand the long-term impact of structures, in particular truth commissions, as well as the model or type of transition and democracy, in order to examine the impact these elements have on violence and racial identity during times of transition. In addition to looking at South Africa's own experience (cf. reports in the Race and Citizenship in Transition Series), the series incorporates an in-depth examination of these same elements during the course of Guatemala's transition to democracy. The following paper focuses on race, and the nature of negotiated transitions, as well as the thin line between political and social conflict; a line which is often blurred during democratic transitions. In many ways, Guatemala reflects important similarities with South Africa. (excerpt)
- Isaacs, Anita. At War with the Past? The Politics of Truth Seeking in Guatemala.
- Truth seeking in postwar Guatemala is a political battleground in which perpetrators intent on guarding against accountability confront victims’ associations equally intent on exposing abuses endured during the country's 36-year armed conflict. Having stage-managed the peace negotiations that established the restrictive parameters of Guatemala's Commission for Historical Clarification (CEH), army officers and guerilla leaders ceded control of truth seeking to Commission staff and their civil society partners, even as the latter mobilized to push the CEH to its investigative limits. The CEH final report's finding that the army had committed genocide galvanized both sides. Victims’ associations insist on more truth alongside justice and reparations, while army perpetrators reject incriminating Commission findings. The Guatemalan case reveals how truth initiatives are at once politicized and polarizing and how politics interfere with a truth commission's effort to produce a consensus history, end violence or afford reconciliation. While it confirms that confronting the past risks undermining the labor of transition architects, it also suggests that these may be necessary evils that could eventually contribute to transforming and strengthening democracy. (author's abstract)
- Seils, Paul F.. "Reconciliation in Guatemala: The Role of Intelligent Justice"
- "The Guatemalan experience has been a mixed one. While the report was enthusiastically received by civil society, it is hard to deny that, in practical terms, much of the fruit has withered on the political vine. The Guatemalan truth commission did not see itself as the embodiment of reconciliation but as an instrument in reconstruction. The truth it told was crucial, but only part of the process. The disappointing, if foreseeable, reactions of those who rejected the CHC’s conclusions and recommendations vindicate the realism shown by the commission." (excerpt)
- Guillerot, Julie and Paz y Paz Bailey, Claudia and Rubio-Marín, Ruth. Indigenous peoples and reparations claims: Tentative steps in Peru and Guatemala.
- In situations of large-scale violence and repression, reparations are best conceptualized as rights-based political projects aimed at giving victims due recognition and at enhancing civic trust both among citizens and between citizens and state institutions. This paper explores, in the light of two case studies, some of the goals, expectations and limitations of reparations as means of redressing identity-based injustice and setting the terms for a more just political order. What do reparations require when we are talking about people who, as is often the case with indigenous peoples, have traditionally been denied equal citizenship status, have experienced long-term, systematic marginalization and who may resist standard notions of citizenship? We argue that the process of creating as well as the content of reparations policies should, first, affirm the commonality of members of indigenous groups as citizens and holders of basic human rights. It should also affirm their condition as members of sub-state groups with distinct cultures and/or communal forms of life. While both Peru and Guatemala took steps to satisfy both of these criteria, the case studies show the limits of what even a well-crafted reparations program can do in terms of providing due redress to victims. They further illustrate that there are limitations to taking even modest steps toward transformation absent a serious commitment on the part of the state and ruling non-indigenous elites to the wider transformations that crafting a more inclusive political order would entail. (excerpt)
- Rousseau, Nicky and Fullard, Madeleine. Truth-telling, identities and power in South Africa and Guatemala.
- Truth commissions can provide a stage for a potentially powerful encounter with the past (and present) at the level of public discourse. While their capacity to effect transformation in societies marked by patterns of identity-related marginalization and exclusion is limited (and the expectation that they should do so is unrealistic), their engagement with citizenship issues in particular can open significant discursive space for new public positions and forms of agency. In particular, we argue that truth-telling initiatives are vehicles through which “acts of citizenship” may be performed, especially by those historically marginalized—acts that may prefigure different identities and altered power relations. Political power and contestation, as well as their particular histories, are at the center of the ways in which identities are formed and mobilized. Thus, truth-telling initiatives, which are generally part of new alignments and struggles to reorganize power, may disrupt existing identifications. The acts of citizenship to which they can give rise may not redistribute power among groups on the political level, but they can do so symbolically by calling attention to power inequalities. (excerpt)
- Viaene, Lieselotte. The internal logic of the cosmos as ‘justice’ and ‘reconciliation’: Micro-level perceptions in post-conflict Guatemala
- Recently there has been greater interest from academics and practitioners in the role of ‘traditional’ justice mechanisms in politics of peace, reconciliation and transitional justice efforts after a period of large-scale human rights violations. However, this call for ‘culturally sensitive’ approaches remains at a rhetorical level. This article attempts to fill the knowledge gap of empirical local studies and focuses on post-conflict processes in Guatemala. It explores the actual and potential role of particularities of Mayan Q’eqchi’ culture in local social reconstruction processes after the internal armed conflict. Based on extensive ethnographic field research, the article explores how concepts of justice and reconciliation are locally and culturally understood. It uncovers the existence of multiple ways of understanding these concepts and further, the fact that they are perceived very differently from interpretations in international law and transitional justice studies. Impunity, as defined by international law, is not the end of accountability, nor truth recovery or reparation. Here, the internal logic of the cosmos through an invisible spiritual force, fosters social and spiritual repair at community level, contributing to the lack of demands of justice by Q’eqchi’ survivors. (author's abstract)
- Rotabi, Karen Smith and Bunkers, Kelley McCreery and Roby, Jini L and Pennell, Joan. Family group conferencing as a culturally adaptable intervention: Reforming intercountry adoption in Guatemala
- Intercountry adoptions prevent institutionalization but may erode children’s rights to their families and cultural heritage. Family group conferencing offers a culturally adaptable intervention that looks for domestic solutions before turning to out-of-country placements. Guatemalan social work education offers a hospitable environment in which to promote its extension to adoptions.(Author's Abstract)
- Implementing Restorative Reform in Guatemala
- In 1996, after over 30 years of internal armed conflict, the Guatemalan government, guerrillas, and civil society representatives signed a series of peace accords to begin the country’s transition to peace. Among the many provisions laid out in the accords were recognition of indigenous customary law and the inclusion of alternative dispute resolution in the justice system. In the area of criminal law, legislation provided for mediation centres and community courts to provide mediation services in all conflicts including minor criminal cases.