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Unpublished Paper
Designing Emotional and Psychological Support into Truth and Reconciliation Commissions
ExpressO (2015)
  • Verlyn F. Francis, Ms., Osgoode Hall Law School of York University

Truth and Reconciliation Commissions are a dispute resolution mechanism used to attempt to reunite countries and states after internal conflicts and civil wars. A large component of this transitional justice process involves truth-telling by perpetrators and victims. The ultimate goal is reconciliation of the parties within the unified state.

Using the example of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, this paper argues that successful reconciliation depends on the design of the process. It is important for the designer to balance individual and institutional interests and to ensure that all stakeholders are at the design table. Since the truth-telling in these circumstances usually involves recalling and testifying about traumatic events, it is important to design culturally appropriate emotional and psychological support into the truth and reconciliation process to prevent the re-victimization of the victims.

  • conflict resolution,
  • dispute resolution,
  • transitional justice,
  • truth and reconciliation commission,
  • South Africa,
  • process design,
  • reparations,
  • rehabilitation,
  • emotional support,
  • psychological support,
  • post-traumatic stress
Publication Date
September 24, 2015
Citation Information
Verlyn F. Francis. "Designing Emotional and Psychological Support into Truth and Reconciliation Commissions" ExpressO (2015)
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