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Are forgiveness and a search for the truth a better solution to heal the minds and bodies of the victims of wars than externally imposed tribunals?

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  1. Introduction
  2. Forgiveness, search for the truth and externally imposed tribunals
    1. The search for truth
    2. Externally imposed tribunal
  3. The necessity of forgiveness and search for the truth
  4. Healing the minds and bodies of the victims of wars
  5. Conclusion
  6. Bibliography

Even after a settlement is reached and a peace agreement is signed, it is by no means the end of the conflict. For a conflict to really end, healing the minds and the bodies of the victims of wars is necessary. Indeed it is the necessary first step to reconciliation to appear and people who have suffered the war need to reconcile in order to prevent the last war to be the cause of the next. Indeed as Whittaker's explains ?reconciliation goes beyond resolution to refer not just to the psychological process whereby understanding and tolerance lead to readiness to live together in a new framework of peace and well- being?

As one might expect, there are big differences in how various societies have attempted to tackle the problem of 'dealing with the past'. Two categories of solutions can be found: internal reconciliation, such as in Chile and South Africa in 1990's and external reconciliation through the increased use of legal redress in external war crimes tribunal, such as for the former Yugoslavia.

[...] Indeed the search for truth was highlighted while the Truth and reconciliation commission in South Africa after the end of Apartheid. In that country, it was set up in terms of the Promotion of National Unity and reconciliation. On the contrary, externally imposed tribunal has a completely different perspective and emerged within the international community. Its use of International Criminal Tribunal has often been termed retribution. Since the end of the Second World War, and the adoption of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the addition of two Protocols in 1977, as well as the adoption of a Convention on Genocide in 1948, the International Community has shown its commitment to end the culture of impunity. [...]


[...] That helps drive away the demons of vengeance or private justice Healing the minds and the bodies of the victims of wars is a complicated notion. As it is, in fact, a personal process. However its aim is always the same, reconciliation and coexistence. Reconciliation is, in fact, not necessarily the end point of every conflict; some may end before complete reconciliation takes place. But all intractable conflicts that really do end must go through some peace building or reconciliation process if the parties are going to have to interact together again in the future. [...]

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