The Importance Of Transitional Justice

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For countries emerging out of conflict or countries that are transitioning into a democracy, the most significant issue these countries face is how to encourage different conflicting groups to coexist peacefully after years of conflict. The most advocated means of ensuring that these groups co exist peacefully is the use of truth commissions. Truth commissions are bodies that are established to investigate past violations of human rights in a particular country. These violations include violations by the government, the military, and other armed opposition forces. Truth commissions have four main characteristics and these include the focus on the past, investigation of a pattern of violations over a specific period of time, are temporary commissions…show more content…
Transitional justice as defined by the United Nations is a set of mechanisms and processes that are linked to a societies attempt to embrace past violations in order to facilitate accountability, serve justice and foster reconciliation. Transitional justice include judicial and non judicial processes that focus on the right to truth, institutional reform, consultations and reparations. Because violations of human rights do not only affect the victims but society at large, efforts should be made to ensure that such violations do not recur. Transitional justice as facilitated by truth commissions ensure that institutions that were involved or incapable of preventing past human rights violations are reformed. If past human rights violations are not addressed, they are likely to lead to mistrust among different groups, in state institutions and may also hinder the attainment of security and peace. This in turn may result in a cyclical recurrence of human rights violations. Truth commissions in this regard provide opportunities to attain justice for past violations by means of political transition. Most truth commissions are formed in the midst of conflicts or in the process of building peace. One country where truth commissions has become an effective tool for transitional justice is Sri Lanka. Investigations were conducted on the misdeeds by the government and the military during the conflict against the Tamil tigers. These investigations conducted by truth commissions facilitated the transition of the society after the

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