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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Pursuit of Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa
Author:Graybill, Lyn S.
Periodical:Africa Today
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:offences against human rights
commissions of inquiry
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Politics and Government
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/4187209
Abstract:This article about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is based on materials the author collected during two visits to South Africa in June-July 1996 and in November-December 1997. The discussion draws on transcripts of hearings, interviews with academics and TRC staff members, and South African Press Association news reports. The current regime of South Africa favoured a politics of compromise to promote peace. It chose to offer amnesty to those who came forward to disclose their deeds, and to prosecute those who would not. The author assesses the TRC's success and shortcomings, and the political, procedural, and ethical criticisms of the TRC. Criticism has been expressed regarding the excessively religious atmosphere and discourse of the proceedings, or conversely, regarding the limited participation of churches and religious organizations in TRC proceedings; critics have also been concerned over the originally relatively small number of women who have come forward to testify about abuses they endured. Subsequently, hearings exclusively for women as well as special hearings for youth and children were held. A much debated aspect of the TRC is its amnesty provision. Also, the question of reparations could create tensions among the population. On the whole, however, the work of the TRC makes reconciliation and reconstruction possible by forgiving. Notes, ref.