Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa: Miracle or Model?

By Lyn S. Graybill | Go to book overview

12
A Workable Model?

To Punish or Pardon?

Rwanda chose a different model from that of South Africa in its effort to deal with conflicts from the past. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was set up on November 8, 1994, by Security Council Resolution 955 to prosecute acts of genocide, crimes against humanity, and violations of the Geneva Convention that were committed during the four-month genocide spree spearheaded after the airplane death of Hutu president Juvenal Habyarimana in April 1994.

Which of these two processes—punishment or pardon—holds the most promise for other countries moving through democratic transitions or in the aftermath of ethnic bloodletting? For politicians, the superior value may be peace or order. Without a minimal peace, no other values can exist.1 The call for a truth commission in South Africa that granted pardon, not punishment, was based on a pragmatic realism. Without the compromise on amnesty, the bitter conflict between the government and the resistance movements undoubtedly would have continued with many more human rights violations and the deaths of added thousands. Since the African National Congress (ANC) did not win militarily but had to negotiate a settlement, so-called victor’s justice was not possible.

In Rwanda, on the other hand, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) came to power in 1994, routed the remnant of the Hutu government, and supported the establishment of a Nuremberg-style tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania, to try those who had fled into exile, and the establishment of local courts for those detained in jails inside the country. (The ICTR is pursuing the planners of the genocide, whereas Rwanda passed legislation

-163-

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Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa: Miracle or Model?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa - Miracle or Model? iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1: Setting Up the Trc 1
  • 2: Nelson Mandela: Pragmatic Reconciler 11
  • 3: Tutu’s Theology of Reconciliation 25
  • 4: Forgiving the Unforgivable 39
  • 5: Amnesty: A Controversial Compromise 57
  • 6: Storytelling 81
  • 7: Women’s Testimony Before the Trc 97
  • 8: Innocent Bystanders? 113
  • 9: Media Hearings 125
  • 10: Wounded Healers: the Churches Respond 133
  • 11: The Rest of the Story 145
  • 12: A Workable Model? 163
  • 13: Afterword: Miracle or Evil Compromise? 177
  • Chronology 181
  • Glossary 187
  • Acronyms 189
  • Bibliography 193
  • Index 219
  • About the Book 231
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