Truth and Reconciliation Commissions and Gender Justice

Authored by: Alessandra Dal Secco

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Mass Atrocities, Political Transitions, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), Transitional Justice
Country: Peru, Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste
Region: East Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa
Year: 2008
Citation: Dal Secco, Alessandra. "Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Gender Justice." In Gendered Peace, edited by Donna Pankhurst. New York: Routledge, 2008.

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Executive Summary

This chapter will particularly concentrate on recent examples of formal truth-telling mechanisms and analyse their contributions and boundaries in the process of engendering restorative justice. As truth-seeking attempts have forcefully become an integral part of transitional aftermath of conflict, there has also been an increased recognition that truth itself is gendered and that gender sensitivity is imperative if one is to thoroughly understand the dynamics of political violence; confront human rights abuses; redress structural inequalities, and recommend institutional reforms in an effective restorative justice and development perspective. Following a brief assessment of the main characteristics and functions common to truth and reconciliation commissions (TRCs), a gender analysis will be devoted to three of the most recent cases: Peru, Sierra Leone, and East Timor. Despite evident differences in geographical contexts and cultural frameworks, these have been selected on the basis of their remarkable efforts in integrating gender sensitive approaches, as they draw on the lessons of previous experiences, the most paradigmatic being that of South Africa (see Manjoo, this volume). The chapter considers the extent to which gender concerns informed the TRC mandate, work and justice intents; how the gender implications of human rights violations were interpreted; how gender relations and inequalities were articulated, and how they were reflected in the design of post-conflict reparation plans, institutional reforms, policy and legislative recommendations.