Achieving sustainable peace in post conflict societies : an evaluation of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Rage, Anne-Britt (Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2010-12)

Thesis (MA (Political Science))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Bibliography

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis explores whether sustainable peace can be achieved in post-conflict societies using the transitional justice approach. In particular, the truth commission is investigated as a mechanism of transitional justice. The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was selected as a case study to investigate the relationship between sustainable peace and transitional justice. This thesis analyses whether the TRC Commission followed its mandate, and whether there are any specific definitions, conclusions or recommendations that the TRC through its Final Report undertakes in order to fulfill a specific part of the mandate, namely “to ensure that there would be no repetition of the past” (TRC vol. 5, chap. 8, paragraph 14). This is done through a textual analysis of the Final Report of the South African TRC, where inherent weaknesses of the Final Report in its aim of achieving sustainable peace are read critically and deconstructively. It is further analysed through linking the issue of sustainable peace to the field of transitional justice and the study of political development on how future TRCs can deal with the issue of sustainable peace. This thesis comes to the conclusion that the South African TRC failed to contribute to a significant analysis of how to prevent the repetition of the past. It is argued that this is based on a lack of a coherent theoretical framework, as the Final Report mixes two different truth finding mechanisms: micro-truth finding and macro-truth finding, together with the just war theory. By analysing the TRC’s theoretical framework through textual analysis, it becomes clear that micro- and macro-truth finding is difficult to combine in one report, and that in the South African case the micro-truth finding part is prioritised. However, the macro-truth finding mechanism would have provided a more in depth analysis towards sustainable peace – which in this thesis is read as Galtung’s positive peace and Lederach’s structural peace – and is a necessary prerequisite in order to achieve sustainable peace. Also the use of a traditional reading of the just war theoryThis thesis explores whether sustainable peace can be achieved in post-conflict societies using the transitional justice approach. In particular, the truth commission is investigated as a mechanism of transitional justice. The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was selected as a case study to investigate the relationship between sustainable peace and transitional justice. This thesis analyses whether the TRC Commission followed its mandate, and whether there are any specific definitions, conclusions or recommendations that the TRC through its Final Report undertakes in order to fulfill a specific part of the mandate, namely “to ensure that there would be no repetition of the past” (TRC vol. 5, chap. 8, paragraph 14). This is done through a textual analysis of the Final Report of the South African TRC, where inherent weaknesses of the Final Report in its aim of achieving sustainable peace are read critically and deconstructively. It is further analysed through linking the issue of sustainable peace to the field of transitional justice and the study of political development on how future TRCs can deal with the issue of sustainable peace. This thesis comes to the conclusion that the South African TRC failed to contribute to a significant analysis of how to prevent the repetition of the past. It is argued that this is based on a lack of a coherent theoretical framework, as the Final Report mixes two different truth finding mechanisms: micro-truth finding and macro-truth finding, together with the just war theory. By analysing the TRC’s theoretical framework through textual analysis, it becomes clear that micro- and macro-truth finding is difficult to combine in one report, and that in the South African case the micro-truth finding part is prioritised. However, the macro-truth finding mechanism would have provided a more in depth analysis towards sustainable peace – which in this thesis is read as Galtung’s positive peace and Lederach’s structural peace – and is a necessary prerequisite in order to achieve sustainable peace. Also the use of a traditional reading of the just war theoryThis thesis explores whether sustainable peace can be achieved in post-conflict societies using the transitional justice approach. In particular, the truth commission is investigated as a mechanism of transitional justice. The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was selected as a case study to investigate the relationship between sustainable peace and transitional justice. This thesis analyses whether the TRC Commission followed its mandate, and whether there are any specific definitions, conclusions or recommendations that the TRC through its Final Report undertakes in order to fulfill a specific part of the mandate, namely “to ensure that there would be no repetition of the past” (TRC vol. 5, chap. 8, paragraph 14). This is done through a textual analysis of the Final Report of the South African TRC, where inherent weaknesses of the Final Report in its aim of achieving sustainable peace are read critically and deconstructively. It is further analysed through linking the issue of sustainable peace to the field of transitional justice and the study of political development on how future TRCs can deal with the issue of sustainable peace. This thesis comes to the conclusion that the South African TRC failed to contribute to a significant analysis of how to prevent the repetition of the past. It is argued that this is based on a lack of a coherent theoretical framework, as the Final Report mixes two different truth finding mechanisms: micro-truth finding and macro-truth finding, together with the just war theory. By analysing the TRC’s theoretical framework through textual analysis, it becomes clear that micro- and macro-truth finding is difficult to combine in one report, and that in the South African case the micro-truth finding part is prioritised. However, the macro-truth finding mechanism would have provided a more in depth analysis towards sustainable peace – which in this thesis is read as Galtung’s positive peace and Lederach’s structural peace – and is a necessary prerequisite in order to achieve sustainable peace. Also the use of a traditional reading of the just war theory contributes to an individualisation of the truth finding process and does not sufficiently support the macro-truths. Finally, by deconstructing the term never again it is shown that this approach should not be used in the TRCs or in the wider field of transitional justice v

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis ondersoek of volhoubare vrede in postkonfliksamelewings met behulp van die oorgangsgeregtigheidsbenadering bereik kan word. Meer bepaald word die soeklig gewerp op die waarheidskommissie as meganisme van oorgangsgeregtigheid. Die Suid-Afrikaanse Waarheids-en-Versoeningskommissie (WVK) dien as gevallestudie om die verwantskap tussen volhoubare vrede en oorgangsgeregtigheid te bestudeer. Die tesis probeer vasstel of die WVK sy mandaat uitgevoer het, en of die Kommissie se finale verslag enige bepaalde omskrywings, gevolgtrekkings of aanbevelings bevat “om te verseker dat die verlede hom nie herhaal nie” (paragraaf 14, hoofstuk 8, volume 5 van die WVKverslag). Dít vind plaas deur middel van ! tekstuele ontleding van die finale WVKverslag wat die inherente swakpunte van dié dokument in sy strewe na volhoubare vrede krities en dekonstruktief benader. Die verslag word voorts ontleed deur die kwessie van volhoubare vrede te verbind met die gebied van oorgangsgeregtigheid sowel as ontwikkelingstudies oor hoe toekomstige WVK’s die kwessie van volhoubare vrede kan hanteer. Die tesis kom tot die gevolgtrekking dat die Suid-Afrikaanse WVK nie ! bydrae gelewer het tot ! sinvolle ontleding van presies hoe om ! herhaling van die verlede te voorkom nie. Daar word aangevoer dat dít te wyte is aan die gebrek aan ! samehangende teoretiese raamwerk, aangesien die finale verslag twee verskillende waarheidsoekende meganismes vermeng – die mikrowaarheidsoeke en die makrowaarheidsoeke – en ook van die geregverdigde-oorlog-teorie gebruik maak. Deur die tekstuele ontleding van die teoretiese raamwerk van die WVKverslag word dit duidelik dat ! mikro- en makrowaarheidsoeke moeilik in een verslag te kombineer is, en dat, in die Suid-Afrikaanse geval, die mikrowaarheidsoeke voorkeur geniet. Tog sou die makrowaarheidsoeke ! grondiger ontleding bied vir die suksesvolle verwesenliking van volhoubare vrede, wat in hierdie tesis as Galtung se ‘positiewe vrede’ en Lederach se ‘strukturele vrede’ 5 verstaan word. Trouens, die makrowaarheidsoeke is ! voorvereiste om volhoubare vrede te bereik. ! Tradisionele lesing van die geregverdigde-oorlogteorie dra ook by tot ! individualisering van die waarheidsoekende proses, en bied nie voldoende ondersteuning vir die makrowaarhede nie. Laastens word daar deur die dekonstruksie van die uitdrukking nooit weer nie getoon dat hierdie benadering nie in WVK’s of op die groter gebied van oorgangsgeregtigheid tuishoort nie.

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