Can The Past Be Policed?: Lessons From The Historical Enquiries Team Northern Ireland

15 April 2009

In the aftermath of conflict, victims often desire answers to unanswered questions about the tragic death of their loved ones. Internationally the favoured mechanism for addressing the legacy of conflict is a truth commission. These processes are tasked with establishing two levels of “truth”: macro and micro. It is generally accepted that truth commissions are more adept at delivering the ‘bigger picture’ or macro level truths. A fundamental weakness is their inability to satisfy the majority of victims’ needs for micro level information, and this remains unfinished business in many post truth commission societies.


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