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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Evaluating the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Author:Stanley, Elizabeth
Periodical:Journal of Modern African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:offences against human rights
commissions of inquiry
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Politics and Government
Ethnic and Race Relations
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3557322
Abstract:South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), heralded as the most ambitious and organized attempt to deal with crimes of a past regime through a concept of truth, came into force on 19 July 1995. Emerging as a political strategy to acknowledge past suffering whilst promoting a future based on the concerns of social justice, the rule of law and reconciliation, the Commission has struggled to fulfil its objectives. This article argues that, although the TRC incorporated these broader concerns into the mandate of its three subcommittees, they were disregarded in practice. The usefulness of acknowledged truth to deal with South Africa's past is shown to have been neutralized by wider concerns of social and criminal justice. In detailing the governmental reticence to provide reparations, the judicial disregard to pursue prosecutions, and the dismissal of responsibility for apartheid at a wider social level, the author argues that opportunities for reconciliation and developmental change are limited. Accounts related to the Commission may have brought cases of individual reconciliation and questioned traditional stereotypes, but collectively, nothing much has changed. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum.