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dispute resolution, conflict resolution, process design, transitional justice, truth and reconciliation, reconciliation, psychology, trauma, emotional and psychological support, victim, perpetrator


Truth and reconciliation commissions are a dispute resolution process used to attempt reconciliation of disputants after internal conflicts and civil wars. A large component of this transitional justice process involves truth-telling by perpetrators and victims.

Using the example of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, this article argues that successful reconciliation depends on the design of the process. It is important for the designers of conflict resolution process to balance individual and institutional interests while ensuring all stakeholders are at the design table. Since 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.