Truth Recovery and Justice after Conflict: Managing Violent Pasts

Mary Brigid Elisabeth Breen Smyth

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45 Citations (SciVal)


This book considers the problem of managing the unfinished business of a violent past in societies moving out of political violence. Truth Commissions are increasingly used to unearth the acts committed by the various protagonists and to acknowledge the suffering of their victims. This book uniquely focuses on the conditions which predispose or prevent embarkation on a truth recovery process, and the rationale for that process. There is, it argues, no magic moment of readiness for truth recovery: the conditions are constructed by political willingness rather than spontaneously occurring. Much of the literature on Northern Irelands past provides historical analyses of the conflict Republican, state or Loyalist violence and is often (implicitly or explicitly) associated with one or other of the partisans in the conflict. This book focuses on the dynamic between the protagonists and how each of their positions, in this case on truth recovery, combine to produce the overall political statusquo in Northern Ireland. As the society struggles to move forward, Marie Breen Smyth considers whether the entrenched positions of some, and the failure understand the views of others, can be shifted by a societal revisiting and re-evaluation of the past. Truth Recovery and Justice after Conflict arises from a decades writing and research with both victims and those close to the armed groups in Northern Ireland. It is also informed by the authors work in South Africa, West Africa, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It will be of great interest to students and researchers in politics, international relations, peace studies and law.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISBN (Print)9780415433983
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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