Essay: Truth commissions

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  • Subject area(s): Human rights essays
  • Reading time: 2 minutes
  • Price: Free download
  • Published on: January 16, 2020
  • File format: Text
  • Number of pages: 2
  • Truth commissions
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Truth commissions are defined as “an ad hoc, victim-centered commission of inquiry”, formed based on two purposes; (1) investigating and reporting impacts from “severe violence of repression” that occurred during a time of conflict or illegitimate rule, (2) creating recommendations to rectify these mistakes, as well as prevent future wrongdoings (Freeman, 2006. Pp.14). Many consider truth commissions to be highly important as they offer victims justice for all that they’ve had to endure (Bakiner, 2016). Uncovering the Truth: Examining Truth Commission Successes and Impact is a secondary source written by author Eric Brahm who addresses the significance of these commissions. In this chapter, Brahm notes that most knowledge on truth commissions is considerably minimal based on his research on the commissions and their impacts on the individuals and environments upon which they are operating. This essay will attempt to critique Brahm’s reasonings and outline the strengths, as well as limitations within his line of argument. WRITE OUTLINE OF ESSAY.


Brahm’s article examines truth commissions and the weaknesses surrounding them such as being “ineffectual or dangerous” (Brahm, 2007. Pp. 16). Brahm thus emphasizes on the need for a multimethod approach, which he believes will help address these issues and suggests that in order to assess the impact of truth commissions, one must examine their influence on human right practices and democratic developments (Brahm, 2007. Pp. 16). ADD MORE AFTER

When examining the impact of truth commissions, Brahm forms numerous arguments of cases in which they have failed to work and writes little on the occasions where they have been successful, making the chapter bias to an extent. Examples of failures include, the fall of commissions due to lack of funds in Bolivia and the Philippines, as well as Haiti and Uganda where reports were not given a wide release (Brahm, 2007. Pp. 18). The same can be said for most literatures surrounding truth commissions where majority of their failures are highlighted, evident through the works of Allison Bisset (2012), who argues that the current approach truth commissions undertake is limiting their success, “which in some cases results in conflict and makes it impossible to achieve successful prosecutions” (Bisset, 2012. Pp. 6). This mirrors much of Brahm’s argument as he suggest that a different strategy (multimethod) be taken due to the current plan appearing poor.

However, it can be argued that Brahms research on truth commissions is distinctive since his work solely focuses on the impacts, failures, and successes of truth commissions and does not stray from that topic, contrary to alternative papers on truth commissions and transnational justice. Where many intellects engage in great debates surrounding truth commissions and transnational justice such as controversy on whether justice equates to punishment and if further resources should be put into victim needs as opposed to charging offenders, Brahm sticks to his purpose and does not waver.

Unlike many other scholars in the field, support for the multi-method approach is minimal in contrast to Brahm’s love for the strategy as he uses the approach to confront issues from human rights to democracy.

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