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Truth and Reconciliation Commission Processes


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Table of Contents

Preface Chapter 1: Introduction Chapter 2: TRCs, War-related Trauma and Attitudes towards Peace Chapter 3: The Solomon Islanders in this Study Chapter 4: Respect, Discrimination and Trust Chapter 5: The TRC Process: A Drop in Confidence and the Lack of Kastom Chapter 6: Coexistence and Feelings Towards Ex-combatants Chapter 7: Wrapping Up and Looking Ahead: Designing TRCs for Peace Bibliography

About the Author

Karen Brouneus is Assistant Professor at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, Sweden.


This study of a geographically 'small' case - the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific - on a truth and reconciliation commission after serious atrocities gives a number of insights, of value to the leaders in the society concerned, as well as to researchers and practitioners elsewhere in the world. By asking questions from research on other commissions, Dr. Brouneus is able to draw general conclusions on matters such as truth telling, open testimonies, and gender differences. Thus it is a highly valuable addition to the international literature on post-conflict reconciliation and strategies for peacebuilding and quality peace. -- Peter Wallensteen, Senior Professor of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University
Combining her unique background in psychology and peace studies with in-depth case knowledge, Brouneus' book provides an innovative and timely assessment of the impact that truth and reconciliation commissions have on the individuals who engage in their proceedings. Providing original and significant insights into the contribution that TRCs make to facilitating peace and unity in the aftermath of conflict, it is a must-read for scholars of peace building and transitional justice, and for those interested in the fascinating but understudied case of the Solomon Islands. -- Renee Jeffery, Professor of International Relations, Griffith University
A very honest appraisal of the complexities of negotiating peace amidst complex relationships, affinities and gendered responses. Brouneus demonstrates the dangers of ignoring kastom in the TRC process, especially where relationships and the need for secrecy are overlooked. -- Jenny Bryant-Tokalau, Associate Professor, Te Tumu School of Maori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies, University of Otago
Offering a rare and original account of a truth and reconciliation process over time, Karen Brouneus provides unique insights through the rich analysis of qualitative and quantitative micro-level data. This book is a real treasure for practitioners, stakeholders and students of TRC processes everywhere. -- Henrik Urdal, Research Professor, Director of the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)
Karen Brouneus's book sensitively reveals the strengths and weaknesses of the Truth and Reconcilation Committee processes in the Solomon Islands in the wake of the 'tensions' or a localised civil war. Here is the reflective social scientist at work with a clear and accessible analysis of a mountain of data that she and a team assembled from a range of techniques. The book's theoretical sections throw light on the dangers of a 'one size fits all' approach to these processes. This work will serve as a model and guide for any future commissions both in the Solomon Islands and elsewhere. -- Judith Bennett, Professor of History, University of Otago
The focus on the 'implementation gap' between the task of transitional justice endeavours and the post-conflict state reaches to the heart of the transitional justice debate. There is no quick fix. It's about inclusive perseverance. Karen Brouneus, drawing on her psychological background, combines statistical and qualitative skills to understand the inevitable and unique limitations and the political intent of the TRC in the Solomon Islands. Exploring the causes, motives, and perspectives of the violent conflict she stresses the need for government to contribute to the restoration of human dignity and peace-building through economic development and the healing of psycho-social national divisions. Undertaking her work in the context of the long line of successes and failures of truth commissions elsewhere in the world, she adds new insights into the complexities of transitional justice, the importance of cultural sensitivities and the need to monitor grass-root responses to transitional justice projects. Recognizing that no one size or design fits all situations, this book provides a useful basis for designing future commissions. -- Charles Villa-Vicencio, Former National Research Director of the South African TRC and Visiting Professor in the Conflict Resolution Program, Georgetown University

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