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Unspeakable Truths

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Unspeakable Truths

The Place for Truth Commissions in a Changing World



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Unspeakable Truths: The Place for Truth Commissions in a Changing World by Priscilla B. Hayner
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Unspeakable Truths is a profound, definitive exploration of truth commissions around the world, and the anguish, injustice, and the legacy of hate they are meant to absolve. After years of political turmoil, repression, and murder, then what? Truth commissions-official investigations into government crimes and misconduct are the only medicine a new government has to cure the diseases of the old regime. In Unspeakable Truths , world renowned expert Priscilla Hayner examines the twenty major truth commissions established around the world, paying special attention to South Africa, El Salvador, Argentina, Chile, and Guatemala. As she explores the inner workings of these tribunals, Hayner finds that victims are torn between the need to remember and the need to forget. In the new post-Cold War order, the future of democracy and peace may rest on this debate. Unspeakable Truths moves through the murders, disappearances, and tragedies that characterized corrupt regimes like those of Idi Amin or August Pinochet, but Hayner handles these issues with grace and subtlety, using these stories and others to shine a light on the triumphs and shortcomings of past commissions.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Confronting Past Crimes 3. Why a Truth Commission? 4. Five Illustrative Truth Commissions 5. Sixteen Less Prominent Commissions 6. What is Truth? 7. Truth vs. Justice 8. Naming the Guilty 9. Healing from the Past 10. An Eye to the Future 11. Reparations for State Crimes 12. Leaving the Past Alone 13. Truth Commissions and the International Criminal Court 14. Inside the Commission 15. Challenges and Assistance From the Outside

Author Biography

Priscilla B. Hayner co-founded the International Center for Transitional Justice and served as program director and director of its Geneva office. She has advised truth commissions in well over a dozen countries, working with the United Nations, the Ford Foundation, and others, and has been featured in Newsweek, the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and Le Temps. She is currently writing on the subject of justice in peace negotiations.
Release date NZ
July 4th, 2002
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
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