Effective peacebuilding in the aftermath of civil war usually requires the drastic reform of security institutions, a process frequently known as security sector reform. Nearly every major donor, as well as a growing number of international organizations, supports the reform of security organizations in countries emerging from conflict and suffering high levels of violence. But how are reform strategies implemented? This collection of case studies (Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Timor-Leste, Mozambique, Serbia, Colombia, Uruguay, Peru, Jamaica) examines the strategies, methods, and practices of the policymakers and practitioners engaged in security sector reform, uncovering the profound conceptual and practical challenges encountered in transforming policy aspiration into practice.
Increasing emphasis is being given to truth commissions in efforts to achieve transitional justice goals, including the establishment of a collective memory, democracy and reconciliation. Truth commissions alone cannot guarantee that these goals will be met, however. The authors of this article believe that the media also has a definitive impact on the process. Indeed, how the media portrays transitional justice mechanisms, such as truth commissions and trials, often determines how they are received in a postconflict society. Failure to take into account the importance of public opinion during transitional justice processes carries the risk of societal divisions being reinforced, which appears to have been the case in Peru. The authors argue that, for this reason, attention should be paid to establishing a constructive societal dialogue, which is often most possible through attention to the reform and support of the local media. Although a national dialogue may not always result in an agreed-upon collective memory, it is arguably a prerequisite. The media plays an important role in this endeavor and may ultimately encourage or hinder reconciliation and the recurrence of conflict.
In a sweeping review of forty truth commissions, Priscilla Hayner delivers a definitive exploration of the global experience in official truth-seeking after widespread atrocities. When Unspeakable Truths was first published in 2001, it quickly became a classic, helping to define the field of truth commissions and the broader arena of transitional justice. This second edition is fully updated and expanded, covering twenty new commissions formed in the last ten years, analyzing new trends, and offering detailed charts that assess the impact of truth commissions and provide comparative information not previously available. Placing the increasing number of truth commissions within the broader expansion in transitional justice, Unspeakable Truths surveys key developments and new thinking in reparations, international justice, healing from trauma, and other areas. The book challenges many widely-held assumptions, based on hundreds of interviews and a sweeping review of the literature. This book will help to define how these issues are addressed in the future.