Pardon, Punishment, and Amnesia: Three African Post-Conflict Methods


Graybill, Lyn S. 2004. “Pardon, Punishment, and Amnesia: Three African Post-Conflict Methods.” Third World Quarterly 25 (6): 1117–30.

Author: Lyn S. Graybill


Three post‐conflict approaches have emerged on the African continent during the past decade. ‘Pardon,’ ‘punishment’ and ‘amnesia’ represent different routes followed by South Africa, Rwanda and Mozambique in the aftermath of conflict. What pragmatic considerations and cultural resources predisposed each to pursue the path it did? This paper looks at the reasons for the choice to hold a truth commission, to prosecute through trials or to forget the past. It assesses the models' effectiveness, and concludes with an observation that they are not as distinct from each other as they first appear. South Africa, Rwanda (after 2002) and Mozambique have all opted for approaches that emphasised the priority of reintegrating perpetrators back into the community. This goal may be served best by methods other than trials.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, DDR, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, TRCs, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa

Year: 2004

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