Over the last thirty years, many political transitions from authoritarian regimes and dictatorial political systems have been accompanied by Truth Commissions. Since 1974 there have been over twenty of these Commissions established in countries as diverse as Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Bolivia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, the Philippines and Germany, among others. Perhaps the most important Truth Commission of our time is that in South Africa which also seeks to act as a mechanism for reconciliation in a divided society. The South African conflict was extremely long and violent; its victims suffered traumatic experiences and in part one of the Commission functions is to allow their story to be told. This book examines the Truth Commission and the issues surrounding it; it assesses different versions of the South African past, the complex negotiations leading to the establishment of the Commission and the complex politics of amnesty, justice and nation-building.

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