Date of this Version



Dr. Brendan O'Leary


truth commissions, material reparations, reparations, transitional justice, argentina, chile, guatemala, peru, post-conflict justice, human rights, justice, prosecutions, human rights abuses


This paper seeks to gauge the effectiveness of truth commissions and their links to creating material reparations programs through two central questions. First, are truth commissions an effective way to achieve justice after periods of conflict marked by mass or systemic human rights abuses by the government or guerilla groups? Second, do truth commissions provide a pathway to material reparations programs for victims of these abuses? It will outline the conceptual basis behind truth commissions, material reparations, and transitional justice. It will then engage in case studies and a comparative analysis of truth commissions and material reparations programs in four countries: Argentina, Chile, Guatemala, and Peru. From the case studies and analysis, I will argue that truth commissions are an effective way to achieve comprehensive justice because they are victim-centered mechanisms that create a legitimate basis from which governments can build prosecutions and reparations programs. Next, I will argue that truth commissions provide a more favorable political condition for the creation of reparations programs and that truth commissions and reparations programs reinforce each other’s effectiveness.



Date Posted: 05 May 2021


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