n Conflict Trends - Reconciliation, truth and justice : confronting the dilemmas

Volume 2009, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1561-9818


The concept of reconciliation has become an inevitable process in the contemporary realpolitik, to the extent that there has finally been a realisation that conflicts will continue to re-emerge unless reconciliation becomes a part of the peace process. Thus, the process of reconciliation has begun to be increasingly associated and prescribed for societies emerging from violent conflict. The assumption is that new societies coming out of a past that was riddled with violence, war, abuse of human rights and impunity have to trudge through the painful process of forgiveness, truth, justice and ultimately reconciliation to achieve peace. Although there is a broad consensus among academics as to the theoretical framework of the concept of reconciliation, there is still no general agreement regarding the kind of political conditions suitable for the implementation of such a process. Brandon Hamber concurred with this view and acknowledged that, when dealing with victims of extreme violence, there is no magic formula to reconciliation. Given this assumption, it is important to realise, albeit painfully, that after the most horrendous acts of physical, emotional and cultural violence have taken place, societies have to find a way to create new sustainable relationships and be able to live together again.

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