Civil Society in Post-Conflict Situations

Transitional Justice, Civil Society, and the Development of the Rule of Law in Post-Conflict Societies

The International Journal
of Not-for-Profit Law

Volume 9, Issue 4, August 2007

Eric Brahm1

Looking Forward, Looking Back

Typically, post-conflict reconstruction efforts rightly pay close attention to (re)building institutions that will effectively support the rule of law. Increasingly, the conventional wisdom holds that an important element in establishing these conditions is to seek some form of accountability for gross human rights violations that occurred during the conflict. The field of transitional justice encompasses these efforts, such as trials, truth commissions, and reparations programs, that seek to address past human rights abuses in the post-conflict setting. Uncovering the details of the past may provide both a primer on what conditions permitted the violations of the rule of law in the past and a deterrent to would-be human rights abusers of the future. Therefore, by examining the crimes of the past via such mechanisms as trials and truth commissions, many argue that transitional justice can help develop the institutional basis and the cultural norms to support the rule of law.

Not surprisingly, civil society organizations have often played important roles in promoting and supporting transitional justice experiments around the world. Unfortunately, civil society is often weak, disorganized, and lacking independence in post-conflict nations.2 However, where the decision has been made to establish some form of accountability for past human rights abuses, it often reflects the relative strength of human rights groups and organized survivors’ groups in pressing the new government to act.3 Increasingly, transnational human rights activists provide additional pressure on states to confront their pasts, as well as expertise on transitional justice to advise governments how to do so. For a peace process to succeed, it also must incorporate not just the combatants and victims, but the society generally. As such, civil society can play a central role in attempts to address past human rights violations by mobilizing broader sections of society to participate and then disseminating the lessons of the transitional justice experience to a wider national audience.

This article provides an overview of the contribution of NGOs and civil society more broadly to efforts to achieve transitional justice around the world. The first section concentrates on civil society within post-conflict states. While conflict conditions often impose severe constraints, the persistence of civil society groups both during and after the conflict goes a long way toward gauging the prospects for transitional justice. Although civil society groups are often the most vocal advocates of transitional justice, their relationship with governments seeking accountability for past abuses is frequently rocky. Second, I examine the role of global civil society in the pursuit of transitional justice after a conflict. Indeed, a growing stratum of activism and expertise has developed in the area of human rights, and these groups have been potent advocates of transitional justice. At the same time, international pressure may sometimes be unwelcome and even counterproductive to the broader goal of social reconciliation that motivates transitional justice. I conclude with some reflections on the relationship between civil society, transitional justice, and the rule of law in post-conflict societies.

Domestic Civil Society and Transitional Justice

Civil society tends to be closely intertwined with the fate of transitional justice. NGOs have often been instrumental in documenting human rights abuses during civil conflict or counterinsurgency actions, which justify transitional justice efforts once the conflict is over. In the post-conflict environment, civil society frequently is a prime advocate of accountability for the past. At the same time, though, civil society has often been a powerful critic of the government’s pursuit of transitional justice. In fact, where government action has been insufficient or nonexistent, civil society has sometimes conducted its own investigations into past human rights abuses.

In the midst of civil war or under government repression, civil society commonly suffers. However, many courageous groups have refused to be cowed. At the risk of torture and death, the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, for instance, marched in central Buenos Aires demanding that the Argentine military junta reveal the fate of their loved ones who had “disappeared.” In the face of government denials, the Mothers drew attention to the government’s human rights violations and developed links to the global human rights community. The resulting publicity, in turn, hindered the junta’s international diplomacy.

At much risk to themselves, civil society groups have also often worked to document human rights violations under repressive governments. In the Southern Cone, for example, the Chilean Catholic Church-based Vicaría de la Solidaridad, the Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS) and the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo of Argentina, and Uruguay’s office of the regional Service for Peace and Justice (SERPAJ) put pressure on governments before and after their respective democratic transitions, by publicizing the evidence of human rights violations they had collected.4 This information has often figured prominently in efforts to achieve accountability via trials or truth commissions during the political transition and after.

In the post-conflict environment, civil society continues to serve a vital role in attaining some form of justice for past human rights violations. Where NGOs have been able to survive or revive after the conflict, they can pressure the transitional government to investigate past human rights abuses and to do so in a robust way. Where they have not done so already, victims’ groups often emerge in the context of transitions. They clearly have a strong interest in investigation and punishment and, in some instances, wield considerable influence. “Mothers” groups, for example, have been a powerful response to many cases of widespread, systematic violence. At times, civil society can provide a sort of counterweight to perpetrators in the post-conflict context. The latter often retain significant power and have a clear incentive to limit the extent of transitional justice.

Where they exist, domestic groups frequently play a significant role in shaping transitional justice mechanisms. For instance, human rights groups often bring legal expertise and courageous, dogged lawyers who press the judicial system to act upon past human rights violations. In such places as Argentina and Chile, they have crafted innovative legal arguments, such as defining disappearances as kidnappings, in order to get around amnesties and statutes of limitations that had previously obstructed prosecutorial efforts. In Guatemala, the Alliance Against Impunity also worked to ensure that the National Reconciliation Law crafted there would exclude amnesty for gross human rights violations such as genocide.5 In addition, civil society has frequently played a role in the construction of truth commissions. In South Africa, NGOs helped draft the legislation that established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).6 The selection process for commissioners also involved a panel of representatives from government and civil society, and the nominees were widely debated amongst human rights and survivors’ groups.7 In Guatemala, the Assembly of Civil Society played a crucial role in getting the government and the rebels to agree to a truth commission as part of their UN-brokered peace agreement.8 In designing compensation measures, finally, civil society can help ensure that needs will be met and that compensation will be received in the spirit the government intended. South Africa’s reparations program, for instance, was established after extensive consultation with survivors’ groups, community organizations, and religious groups, as well as South African and international NGOs.9 More generally, the strength of human rights organizations and the Church has been implicated in explaining the differences in transitional justice policies in the Southern Cone.10

Post-conflict situations increasingly involve external powers in different capacities. The United Nations has been intimately involved in a number of transitional justice experiments. For example, it contributed heavily to the truth commissions in El Salvador and Guatemala and the hybrid tribunals in East Timor and Sierra Leone. The American invasion of Iraq also created an opportunity to achieve accountability for Saddam Hussein’s mistreatment of his own people. In these situations, domestic groups can provide a bridge and a local perspective to international actors attempting to aid post-conflict reconstruction.11 The willingness of the external actors to heed this advice, however, is highly variable.

Even after the form(s) of transitional justice are selected, civil society often continues to play an important role. Groups pressure governments to continue investigations, to fund truth commissions and reparations programs, and to fully cooperate with investigations. Groups pressure governments to continue investigations, to fund truth commissions and reparations programs, and to fully cooperate with investigations. Civil society groups also frequently help with investigations by turning over information they have collected. 12 In addition, given that they tend to enjoy greater credibility in communities, local organizations can sometimes win the cooperation of those who may not trust a governmental entity. Communities’ trust also allows NGOs to rally support and resources for exhumation and reburial efforts. As a result, truth commissions or criminal investigators are able to obtain more information than they otherwise would have. Finally, civic leaders frequently serve as commissioners and staff of truth commissions. Commissioners are commonly drawn from a pool of neutral, widely respected members of society, which may include clergy, lawyers, and activists.

Both during and after conflict, civil society groups often provide crucial trauma-support services for victims of human rights violations. Truth commissions and trials rely on the testimony of survivors, but frequently provide little in the way of support to facilitate physical and psychological healing. For many victims, recalling their sufferings can be painful and induce post-traumatic stress. Professional associations and religious organizations in particular often play key roles in this regard. In South Africa, the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) Trauma Clinic and the Trauma Centre for Survivors of Violence and Torture provided counseling and care. Argentina’s Movimiento Ecuménico por los Derechos Humanos played a similar role there.13 Other victims’ groups coalesced to provide support for members, including South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Project for Survivors of Violence and the Khulumani Support Group.

As temporary bodies, truth commissions do not survive long enough to see whether governments act upon their findings. Therefore, civil society often provides helpful pressure to implement the commission’s reform recommendations. Private groups also frequently print and distribute truth commission reports when the government does not take an interest. As such, transitional justice efforts focused on reconstructing society can help reenergize civil society groups and refocus their efforts in new directions.14 NGOs also are significant in developing symbolic reparations programs for victims, such as memorials and other remembrances, both by pressing governments to follow through with plans and by developing projects on their own when government does not act.15

The relationship between NGOs and trials or truth commissions is not always smooth.16 In fact, civil society does not always support transitional justice efforts. In Argentina, for example, the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo wanted nothing to do with the truth commission, because they perceived it as an attempt to avoid full disclosure and accountability for what had been done to their loved ones. What is more, they rejected all proposals for reparations, dismissing it as blood money.17 In South Africa, different groups had competing ideas about appropriate reconciliation strategies.18 Groups within both Guatemala and South Africa disagreed as to whether amnesties were appropriate and whether truth commissions were an acceptable substitute for trials.19 Moreover, van der Merwe notes that, in the South African context, the TRC’s goal of national reconciliation sometimes clashed with local groups’ focus on community-level healing.20 Finally, in South Africa, many civil society groups felt threatened, because they viewed changing funding patterns as evidence that the TRC was robbing them of financial support.

Where governments are unwilling to investigate human rights violations, civil society groups sometimes go beyond documenting wrongdoing and conduct truth commission-like investigations of their own. For example, beginning in 1979, the Archbishop of Sao Paulo and the World Council of Churches sponsored a clandestine nongovernmental investigation of human rights abuses by the military. Lawyers connected to the Catholic Church checked out documents, which they were legally authorized to do, related to more than 700 cases before military courts and photocopied more than a million pages of records, which were immediately microfilmed with copies sent abroad for safekeeping.21 Ultimately, in August 1985, the Sao Paulo diocese published Brazil: Nunca Mas, a collection of allegations of torture and murder by government forces since the military takeover in 1964. It became an instant bestseller and kept past human rights abuses in the public eye during the democratic transition.22 In Uruguay, a 1985 SERPAJ report documented the military’s human rights abuses from 1973 to 1982 more thoroughly than the government’s own truth commission had done, and its findings were more widely distributed.23 The parliament responded by creating a new truth commission while simultaneously passing a general amnesty.24 In the late 1990s, the Archdiocese of Guatemala City’s human rights office conducted its own investigation of human rights violations during the civil war, called the Project for the Recovery of Historical Memory (REMHI), when the UN-sponsored truth commission appeared to be too weak.25 Unfortunately, NGO-gathered evidence of past human rights violations has not often prompted governments to act.26

Global Civil Society and Transitional Justice

The prospect of transitional justice for past human rights abuses is also influenced significantly by transnational activist networks. Before transitions, the global human rights community pressures authoritarian governments on the treatment of their own citizens when domestic groups are unable to do so, in what has been called the “boomerang effect.”27 In the post-conflict context, international groups lend support and legitimacy to domestic NGOs, as well as fledgling transitional governments, in their attempts to achieve accountability for past human rights violations.28 In addition, global civil society can provide expertise and lessons from other countries’ experiences with transitional justice, help in raising funds, and lend legitimacy and moral support. Groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch also have a prominent Internet presence, so their monitoring of efforts to achieve accountability can be disseminated broadly. The international community also can provide technical expertise, as the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has in constructing databases for the truth commissions in South Africa, Guatemala, Haiti, and El Salvador.29

For most of the global human rights movement, the optimal end to transitional justice is to punish those responsible for gross human rights violations. Aside from pressuring governments to act, international human rights activists increasingly serve an important role in facilitating the pursuit of human rights trials in other venues when domestic prosecution is not likely. Amnesties, judicial obstacles, or military intransigence may leave few outlets for victims in the fragile post-conflict environment. However, the growth of universal jurisdiction for human rights abuses has provided new venues. Universal jurisdiction principles allow cases to be brought in the courts of other countries without any territorial or nationality basis for jurisdiction.30 When domestic trials were not possible in Chile and Argentina, for example, groups such as CELS and SERPAJ worked with Amnesty International and sympathetic lawyers to bring cases in a number of European countries.31

The global human rights community is also embracing a broader array of transitional justice mechanisms. In terms of global civil society’s effects on transitional justice, none has been more dramatic than the rapid spread of the truth commission. The truth commission entered the human rights vernacular in the 1980s, as an increasing number of countries experimented with democracy. Many of the earliest experiments with truth commissions were isolated efforts. Although there is some disagreement as to the earliest truth commission,32 they appear to have emerged in Latin America in the early 1980s as Bolivia, Uruguay, and Argentina transitioned to democracy. While activists engaged in regional discussions about constructing the respective truth commissions, the global activist community was just beginning to pay attention. A few more truth-seeking experiments were undertaken in other parts of the world in the late 1980s, but they appeared to be largely independent reinventions of the model. However, by the end of the decade, a limited stratum of international truth commission expertise had developed for promoting commissions in post-conflict circumstances.

The end of the Cold War prompted the expansion of transitional justice in several respects. The number of democratic transitions that accompanied the Cold War’s demise presented opportunities to examine past human rights abuses in many countries. In addition, the rhetoric of human rights was no longer hostage to superpower politics. Finally, the Cold War’s end unleashed a number of long-simmering conflicts, many of which became ripe for transitional justice later in the decade. As a result, throughout the 1990s, what has been termed the “justice cascade”33 produced an expansion of global transitional justice expertise. Lutz and Sikkink characterize the justice cascade as the work of nongovernmental actors promoting accountability for human rights violations, acting partly as activists and partly as legal and technical experts. In particular, the expanded use of the truth commission produced a number of commissioners and staff who subsequently became persuasive truth commission advocates on the global level. Although in the early 1990s, the head of the Chadian truth commission could credibly claim that he “had scarcely known that this type of investigation existed in other countries,”34 the explosion of truth commission cases during the subsequent decade made such a claim increasingly implausible.

The Chilean truth commission, known as the Rettig Commission, in the early 1990s served as a bridge to earlier truth commission experiences, in part because it reflected the growing role of global civil society. The new Aylwin government in Chile explicitly drew upon the earlier experiences of Argentina and Uruguay in determining how to approach the human rights violations of the Pinochet era.35 Activists and governments in other Latin American countries, in turn, drew upon Chile’s example. Governments and rebel groups in El Salvador and Guatemala agreed to truth commissions as part of United Nations-sponsored negotiations in large part due to the examples of Chile and other Latin American countries.36 There were broader, global consequences as well.

Of the many truth commission experiments around the world, none have proven as important in contributing to the justice cascade and promoting the truth commission model as South Africa. While South Africans have viewed it more critically,37 the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has received near universal international acclaim. Its widespread publicity has made it the blueprint for subsequent discussions of truth commission the world over. In fact, though, global civil society helped South Africa craft its commission by learning from earlier experiences. In particular, international experts and truth commission veterans shared their insights at two conferences. Those involved in truth commissions in Argentina and Chile, as well as those involved in transitional justice efforts in Eastern Europe, contributed to South Africa’s discussions as to how to deal with the past.38

With the attention paid to South Africa’s TRC, it is not surprising that many associated with it have become influential advocates amongst global civil society. TRC Chair Desmond Tutu already had a high profile as a Nobel Prize winner; he has spoken extensively on the benefits of a truth-seeking approach. Commissioners from the South African, Chilean, and Guatemalan commissions helped recalibrate the Nigerian truth commission after its mandate was initially drawn too broadly.39 Some TRC veterans have even gone on to establish nongovernmental organizations that consult with countries on transitional justice issues. As a result, there is a substantial global epistemic community to support the further spread and refinement of the truth commission idea and transitional justice more broadly.

Two organizations in particular that emerged from the South African experience have been crucial in promoting truth commissions globally: the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR). The ICTJ is by far the higher-profile organization. After opening its first office in New York City in 2001, the ICTJ was working in more than a dozen countries within six months.40 Initially led by Alex Boraine, a TRC commissioner, and supported by Paul van Zyl, executive secretary of the TRC, and leading truth commission expert Priscilla Hayner, the organization now has four offices around the world. Consulting with governments and civil society groups, the ICTJ promotes a comprehensive approach to transitional justice that includes not only truth commissions, but also prosecution, reparations, reconciliation processes, and institutional reform. Its size is both strength and weakness: while it has a global reach, there is the risk that it will adopt a one-size-fits-all approach, a potential problem that its officials recognize. The IJR, by contrast, has more quietly advanced the cause of transitional justice, reconciliation, and democratic development since 2000. Restricting its work to Africa, the IJR explicitly draws lessons from South Africa’s transitional experience to suggest a path for other post-conflict societies.

International involvement with a nation’s transitional justice is not always a plus. It may give those who oppose transitional justice the chance to dismiss the effort as foreign. Support from international civil society may also keep governments from paying heed to domestic civil society. In South Africa, for example, the TRC responded to critics by pointing to its international supporters.41 Active international interest in transitional justice may also produce a confrontation with the past before the society is ready. For example, investigations are unlikely to be effective when fighting is ongoing, which may discredit transitional justice and make it unfeasible at a later, more suitable time.42


The fates of civil society and transitional justice are often closely tied in post-conflict situations. Particularly in concert with transnational activists, a robust civil society is better able to press for transitional justice. At the same time, where civil society is weak, trials, truth commissions, or reparations programs might serve as a catalyst to develop civil society organizations. Of course, it is less likely that any form of transitional justice will exist without pressure from local and global civil society. The lack of transitional justice in the immediate post-conflict period, however, may prompt survivors’ groups and human rights activists to mobilize for action in the future.

Transitional justice can strengthen the future rule of law. For instance, accountability for past human rights abuses sends a message to potential human rights abusers of the future that they will face sanction should they proceed. In addition, perpetrators may lose their military or political support as a result of exposure. A clear condemnation of past human rights violations may also make such behaviors less socially acceptable. While digging up the past poses a risk of angering perpetrators and disrupting transitions,43 demands for justice, with civil society often playing an instrumental role, tend to persist if victims are not satisfied, as the cases of Chile and Argentina illustrate. Victims, too, may resort to vigilantism should legal outlets be completely cut off.

In fact, how transitional justice measures affect post-conflict societies is not yet clear. Although such measures hold strong moral appeal, the empirical evidence is rather thin. The spottiness of trials for human rights violations suggests a weak deterrent effect. Conducting trials rather than summary executions, however, demonstrates a commitment to the rule of law.44 Beyond sending a message to those in power and punishing perpetrators, the effects of trials are frequently limited. Truth commissions may be more effective in this regard. For instance, truth commissions recommend reforms intended to prevent any future repetition of such abuses. These recommendations have often targeted the judiciary, police, and armed forces. Although the overall implementation record of such recommendations is not good,45 in some instances the recommendations appear to have prompted significant police and judicial reform.46 By producing an authoritative history of the conflict, truth commission reports may also serve an educational role: on the individual level, South Africans who more closely followed the TRC’s work were more supportive of the rule of law.47 In general, however, the consequences of transitional justice for future social and political development require further study.


1 Eric Brahm is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Contact info: or UNLV, Department of Political Science, Box 455029, 4505 S. Maryland Pkwy., Las Vegas NV 89154-5029, USA.

2 Clarke, Gerard (1998). “Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and politics in the developing world.” Political Studies 46:36–52.

3 Backer, David (2003). “Civil Society and Transitional Justice: Possibilities, Patterns and Prospects.” Journal of Human Rights 2:297-313. Skaar, Elin (1999) “Truth Commissions, Trials – or Nothing? Policy Options in Democratic Transitions.” Third World Quarterly 20:1109-28.

4 Bickford, L. (2000). “Human Rights Archives and Research on Historical Memory: Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay.” Latin American Research Review 35:160-182. Sutil, Jorge Correa (1997). “”No Victorious Army Has Ever Been Prosecuted…’: The Unsettled Story of Transitional Justice in Chile.” In Transitional Justice and the Rule of Law in New Democracies, edited by A. J. McAdams, pp. 123-154. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.

5 Popkin, Margaret L., and Nehal Bhuta (1999). “Latin American Amnesties in Comparative Perspective: Can the Past Be Buried?” Ethics & International Affairs 13:99. p.116.

6 Hayner, Priscilla B. (2001). Unspeakable Truths: Confronting State Terror and Atrocity. New York: Routledge. p. 235.

7 Sarkin, Jeremy (1996). “The Trials and Tribulations of South Africa’s Truth and Reconcilliation.” South African Journal on Human Rights 12:617-640.

8 Whitfield, Teresa (1999). “The Role of the United Nations in El Salvador and Guatemala: A Preliminary Comparison.” In Comparative Peace Processes in Latin America, edited by C. J. Arnson. Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press. p. 271.

9 Graybill, Lyn S. (1998). “Pursuit of Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa.” Africa Today 45.

10 Barahona de Brito, Alexandra (1997). Human Rights and Democratization in Latin America: Uruguay and Chile, Oxford Studies in Democratization. New York: Oxford University Press.

11 Roht-Arriaza, Naomi (2002). “Civil Society in Processes of Accountability.” In Post-Conflict Justice, edited by M. C. Bassiouni, pp. Ardsley, N.Y.: Transnational Publishers. p. 99.

12 Investigators, however, sometimes are reluctant to accept help from civil society groups, for fear that it may tarnish the perceived impartiality of the investigation. Boraine, Alex (2000). A Country Unmasked. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 65. Hayner, Priscilla B. (2000). “Same Species, Different Animal: How South Africa Compares to Truth Commissions Worldwide.” In Looking Back, Reaching Forward: Reflections on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa, edited by C. Villa-Vicencio and W. Verwoerd, pp. 32-41. London: Zed Books. p. 38.

13 Brysk, Alison (1994). The Politics of Human Rights in Argentina : Protest, Change, and Democratization. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. p. 51.

14 Roht-Arriaza, Naomi (2002). “Civil Society in Processes of Accountability.” In Post-Conflict Justice, edited by M. C. Bassiouni. Ardsley, NY: Transnational Publishers. p. 100.

15 For an overview of the South African case, see Rasool, Ciraj, Leslie Witz, and Gary Minkley (2001). “Burying and Memorialising the Body of Truth: The TRC and National Heritage.” In After the TRC: Reflections on Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa, edited by W. G. James and L. van de Vijver, pp. 115-127. Athens: Ohio University Press.

16 Hayner, Priscilla B. (2001). Unspeakable Truths: Confronting State Terror and Atrocity. New York: Routledge. p. 237-38.

17 Lutz, Ellen (1989). “After the Elections: Compensating Victims of Human Rights Abuses.” In New Directions in Human Rights, edited by E. L. Lutz, H. Hannum and K. Burke. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

18 Van der Merwe, Hugo (2001). “National and Community Reconciliation: Competing Agendas in South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.” In Burying the Past: Making Peace and Doing Justice after Civil Conflict, edited by N. Biggar. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.

19 Wilson, Richard (1997). The People’s Conscience? Civil Groups, Peace and Justice in the South African and Guatemalan Transitions. London: Catholic Institute for International Relations.

20 Van der Merwe, Hugo (2001). “National and Community Reconciliation: Competing Agendas in South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.” In Burying the Past : Making Peace and Doing Justice after Civil Conflict, edited by N. Biggar. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.

21 C atholic Church, Archdiocese of Säo Paulo (Brazil), and Joan Dassin (1986). Torture in Brazil: A Report [English Translation of Brazil: Nunca Mas]. 1st American ed. New York: Vintage Books.

22 Pereira, Anthony (2000). “An Ugly Democracy? State Violence and the Rule of Law in Brazil.” In Democratic Brazil: Actors, Institutions, and Processes, edited by P. R. Kingstone and T. J. Power. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.

23 Hayner, Priscilla B. (1994). “Fifteen Truth Commissions – 1974 to 1994: A Comparative Study.” Human Rights Quarterly 16:597-655.

24 Weschler, Lawrence (1990). A Miracle, a Universe: Settling Accounts with Torturers. 1st ed. New York: Pantheon Books.

25 Proyecto Interdiocesano Recuperación de la Memoria Histórica (Guatemala) (1999). Guatemala: Never Again! Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.

26 Backer, David (2003). “Civil Society and Transitional Justice: Possibilities, Patterns and Prospects.” Journal of Human Rights 2:297-313. pp. 308-9.

27 Keck, Margaret E., and Kathryn Sikkink (1998). Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

28 Roht-Arriaza, Naomi (1995). “Conclusion: Combating Impunity.” In Impunity and Human Rights in International Law and Practice, edited by N. Roht-Arriaza. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 302.

29 Ball, Patrick, Herbert F. Spirer, and Louise Spirer (2000). Making the Case: Investigating Large-Scale Human Rights Violations Using Information Systems and Data Analysis. Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science.

30 For a general overview of universal jurisdiction, see Macedo, Stephen, ed. (2004). Universal Jurisdiction : National Courts and the Prosecution of Serious Crimes under International Law, Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

31 See Roht-Arriaza, Naomi (2005). The Pinochet Effect : Transnational Justice in the Age of Human Rights.

32 See Brahm, Eric (n.d.) “What is a Truth Commission? Defining the Universe of Cases.” Manuscript.

33 Lutz, Ellen, and Kathryn Sikkink (2001). “The Justice Cascade: The Evolution and Impact of Foreign Human Rights Trials in Latin America.” Chicago Journal of International Law 2:1-33.

34 Bronkhorst, Daan (1995). Truth and Reconciliation, Obstacles and Opportunities for Human Rights. Amsterdam: Amnesty International Dutch Section.

35 Barahona de Brito, Alexandra (2001). “Passion, Constraint, Law, and Fortuna: The Human Rights Challenge to Chilean Democracy.” In Burying the Past: Making Peace and Doing Justice after Civil Conflict, edited by N. Biggar, pp. 177-208. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.

36 Hayner, Priscilla B. (2001). Unspeakable Truths: Confronting State Terror and Atrocity. New York: Routledge.

37 See for example Jeffery, Anthea (1999). The Truth About the Truth Commission. Braamfontein, Johannesburg, South Africa: South African Institute of Race Relations.

38 The conferences resulted in two books: Boraine, Alex, and Janet Levy, eds. (1995). The Healing of a Nation? Cape Town: Justice in Transition. Boraine, Alex, Janet Levy, and Ronel Scheffer, eds. (1997). Dealing with the Past: Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa. Cape Town: IDASA (Institute for a Democratic Alternative for South Africa).

39 Hayner, Priscilla B. (2001). Unspeakable Truths: Confronting State Terror and Atrocity. New York: Routledge.

40 The number has risen to more than thirty, including virtually every country in which a truth commission has been created since South Africa’s TRC completed its work.

41 Crocker, David A. (2000). “Truth Commissions, Transitional Justice, and Civil Society.” In Truth v. Justice: The Morality of Truth Commissions, edited by R. I. Rotberg and D. Thompson, pp. 99-121. Princeton: Princeton University Press. p. 117. Isaacs, Anita (1996). “International Support for Democratization: A Map and Some Policy Guidelines Derived from the Four Case Studies.” In Beyond Sovereignty : Collectively Defending Democracy in the Americas, edited by T. J. Farer. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 281-2. Nino, C. S. (1991). “The Duty to Punish Past Abuses of Human Rights Put into Context – The Case of Argentina.” Yale Law Journal 100:2619-2640.

42 Hayner, Priscilla B. (1996). “Commissioning the Truth: Further Research Questions.” Third World Quarterly 17:19-29.

43 Snyder, Jack L., and Leslie Vinjamuri (2003). “Trials and Errors: Principle and Pragmatism in Strategies of International Justice.” International Security 28:5-44.

44 Minow, Martha (1998). Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History after Genocide and Mass Violence. Boston: Beacon Press. Ch. 3.

45 Hayner, Priscilla B. (1996). “Commissioning the Truth: Further Research Questions.” Third World Quarterly 17:19-29.

46 Brahm, Eric (2006). Truth and Consequences: The Impact of Truth Commissions in Transitional Societies. Ph.D. diss., University of Colorado at Boulder. See especially chs. 5-8.

47 Gibson, J. L. (2004) “Truth, Reconciliation, and the Creation of a Human Rights Culture in South Africa.” Law & Society Review 38:5-40.