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Vol 38 No 12

Published 6th June 1997

Naming names

Human rights violators are on trial but where does justice meet reconciliation?

Signs are everywhere that Africa is trying to deal with the trauma of genocide, conflict and dictatorship by bringing human rights violators to justice – or at least to the light of public exposure. From South Africa with its Truth and Reconciliation Commission to Rwanda's target of prosecuting 100,000 detainees for involvement in genocide, the goals are common: to promote justice, deterrence, and eventually, reconciliation. The differences lie mainly in the emphasis – a trade-off between justice and the compromise necessary for peace – which reflect local political reality.

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