More discussion of a truth commission

A few points:

1) It’s a very VERY welcome change from a few months ago that we’re now hearing more serious disagreement over what kinds of transitional justice mechanisms we’ll use to reckon with the crimes of the Bush era, rather than whether we should or can use any at all.

2) There is no single model for setting up a truth commission or commencing criminal prosecutions. We have many options.

3) The only option we don’t have –if we want to pay more than lip service to the principles of the rule of law and equal justice– is to do nothing.

4) Let’s leave reconciliation out of it. It’s a non-issue, and weakens the argument in favor of transitional justice in this case. As I wrote a few months back:

There are no parties to be reconciled, just the agents of a soon-to-be-out-of-power criminal regime and their numerous and varied victims. Moreover, the victims are of a dozen or more nationalities and spread out over six continents. Very few of the surviving victims and loved ones of deceased victims will ever have to share the same social or civic space –or the same space, period– with the perpetrators.

I think that the creation of an evidence-seeking Truth Commission that neither automatically precedes criminal trials nor offers any kind of immunity would be the best option for us in the years ahead.


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