The dual relationship between truth commissions and reparations: the reparative effect of truth-telling and a comparative analysis of truth commissions’ approach to reparations
One of the many challenges faced by a newly-peaceful or a recently-democratic State is the one that consists in repairing the harm it has caused to its own population. As will be demonstrated in this paper, reparations can take various forms and be the product of the work undertaken by different entities. Indeed, in its pursuit for a better future, a country confronted with its shameful past will usually initiate actions in four areas: truth-telling, reparations, justice and institutional reforms. While these four pillars pursue different aims, they are not as hermetic as one might think: an action undertaken in one of these pillars will usually be felt across other pillars. In this way, the reparations area of transitional justice frequently interacts with other areas. This paper will demonstrate this as it will be dedicated to an examination of how truth-telling can be a form of reparation for victims and how truth commissions, usually most active in the truth-seeking dimension of transitional justice, can recommend reparations for victims. Part 1 of this paper will address the role that transitional justice can play in reshaping a country. In Part 2, the reparative effect that truth-telling can have on victims will be addressed. Finally, Part 3 will be dedicated to a comparative analysis of how various truth commissions have dealt with their reparative mandate.