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The Therapeutic Dimension of Transitional Justice: Emotional Repair and Victim Satisfaction in International Trials and Truth Commissions

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image of International Criminal Law Review

This article examines the capacity of two major transitional justice mechanisms, international criminal trials and truth commissions, to provide a measure of emotional repair to the victims of some of humanity's most serious criminal acts. It is suggested that transitional justice processes often afford inadequate attention to the needs and rights of individual victims; but that four antecedents – account-making; truth-finding; justice and deliberative encounter may make some contribution to unlocking the therapeutic potential of these processes. While trials and truth commissions may both continue to play key roles in transitional settings, such processes should be conceived as individual elements of a more complex package of measures that should be put in place to propel peacemaking and healing at both individual and societal levels.

Affiliations: 1: Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK


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