n Institute for Security Studies Papers - Between principle and pragmatism in transitional justice : South Africa's TRC and peace building

Volume 2007, Issue 156
  • ISSN : 1026-0404



Truth commissions are increasingly regarded as essential instruments for peace building in societies undergoing political transition. While truth commissions can contribute meaningfully toward dealing with a legacy of past conflict and human rights abuse through their processes and recommendations, they remain insufficient instruments for guiding societies toward sustainable peace. The complexity of dealing with questions of past conflict and human rights in South Africa demonstrates the difficulties involved in transforming a society. Given the present social and structural inequalities and concerns in South Africa, the degree to which the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has effected transformation and consolidated peace cannot yet be ascertained and, at best, the TRC may be described as part of a long and ongoing process.

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