Professor Zvobgo’s Young Initiative-sponsored talk asked a simple yet important question: do truth commissions advance transitional justice? Zvobgo began her discussion by defining what transitional justice is: judicial and non-judicial measures taken to address human rights abuses based on four pillars— truth, justice, reparations, and the guarantee of non-recurrence. She emphasized that truth commissions are about developing a comprehensive understanding of the past -- what happened and why – as the basis for states taking responsibility for human rights abuses and making reparations. Zvobgo suggests that state-societies of all sorts, including established democracies, can benefit from truth telling processes as the basis for moving beyond past wrongs and building more just, equitable societies.
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