As a response to needs for healing and reconstructing societies after violent conflict, some Latin American countries have looked to processes similar to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission as well as developing their own processes.
- Rojas Mendoza, Dionisio. 2006. Design of a Restorative Justice Process: Inter-Sectoral Commission for Life and Human RIghts. Barrancabermeja (Colombia). Eastern Mennonite University. Conflict Transformation Program.
- This article discusses the possible design of a restorative response to mass violence in Colombia.
- 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)
- 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)
- Sriram, Chandra Lekha. Confronting past human rights violations: justice vs. peace in times of transition.
- This book examines what makes accountability for previous abuses more or less possible for transitional regimes to achieve. It closely examines the other vital goals of such regimes against which accountability is often balanced. The options available are not simply prosecution or pardon, as the most heated polemics of the debate over transitional justice suggest, but a range of options, from complete amnesty through truth commissions and lustration or purification to prosecution. The question then is not whether accountability can be achieved, but what degree of accountability can be achieved by a given country. This book examines five countries’ experiences in detail – El Salvador, Honduras, Argentina, South Africa, and Sri Lanka – and offers a comparative survey of nearly 30 countries’ experiences. (publisher’s abstract)
- The limits of Colombia's demobilization programs
- from Hans Rouw's article in Colombia Reports: The security situation in Colombia has improved greatly over the last decade as the state has gained more control over the use of violence within its territory; both through combating illegal armed groups and by gaining wider legitimacy with the population. However, there has been a resurgence of violence in recent months, for example in the city of Medellin. Some Colombians blame, at least in part, the failure of the country’s disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programs (DDR) for this new deterioration in security.... Are there, then, factors that make Colombia’s DDR programs unique, or would it suffice to state that accompanying a peace process with DDR is just difficult and bound to end in disappointment?
- Theidon, Kimberly. Justice in Transition: The Micropolitics of Reconciliation in Postwar Peru.
- This article draws on anthropological research conducted with communities in Ayacucho, the region of Peru that suffered the greatest loss of life during the internal armed conflict of the 1980s and 1990s. One particularity of internal wars, such as Peru’s, is that foreign armies do not wage the attacks: frequently, the enemy is a son-in-law, a godfather, an old schoolmate, or the community that lies just across the valley. The charged social landscape of the present reflects the lasting damage done by a recent past in which people saw just what their neighbors could do. The author contributes to the literature on transitional justice by examining the construction and deconstruction of lethal violence among “intimate enemies” and by analyzing how the concepts and practices of communal justice have permitted the development of a micropolitics of reconciliation in which campesinos administer both retributive and restorative forms of justice. (author's abstract)
- 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)
- Valverde, Estela and Humphrey, Michael. Human Rights Politics and Injustice: Transitional Justice in Argentina and South Africa.
- Transitional justice is about the recovery of the rule of law and justice after mass violence. In the recent history of Argentina and South Africa, human rights politics have played an important role in the transition from repression to democracy as a discourse of resistance to state repression and as a framework and methodology for the successor state to manage demands for justice and promote reconciliation. Post-transition, they have provided a standard for the accountability of state institutions and evaluation of the democratic government's performance. In this article, we explore the roles of victims, survivors and relatives in the expansion of human rights politics. We argue that victims represent their suffering as embodied injustice and make their victim identity the focus of efforts to recover a moral contract between state and citizens. The expansion of human rights politics to include social and economic rights is an expression of the limits of transitional justice in recovering full citizenship in the context of the neo-liberal democratic project in Argentina and South Africa. (author's abstract)
- 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)
- Waging Peace in Nicaragua.
- In the 1980s, a small group of pastors decided to work toward ending the civil war engulfing their country. Since that time, the work of these peace commissions has adapted as the needs of their local communities changes. This includes providing reintegration services for ex-combatants in the post-war period and their current work of resolving conflicts and responding to crime. The remaining peace commissioners are now looking to restorative justice theory to inform their work. Tracey King, a student in the Conflict Transformation Programme at Eastern Mennonite University, provides an overview of the work undertaken by the peace commissions since their inception.
- Walling, Carrie Booth and Sikkink, Kathryn. Argentina's Contribution to Global Trends in Transitional Justice
- "In addition to discussing the case of Argentina, we will also sketch out some broad international and regional trends in the area of transitional justice. These trends make clear that dramatic changes have occured in the world with regard to accountability for past human rights abuses. This trend is what Lutz and Sikkink have called "The Justice Cascade" -a rapid shift towards new norms and practices of providing more accountability for human rights violations. The case of Argentina is particularly interesting because far from being a passive participant in or recipient of this justice cascade, Argentina was very often an instigator of particular new mechanisms within the cascade. The case illlustrates the potential for global human rights protagonism at the periphery of the system. The Argentine case also supports the general thesis of the volume that multiple transitional justice mechanisms are frequently used in a single case." (exceprt)