Research Handbook on Transitional Justice
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Research Handbook on Transitional Justice

Edited by Cheryl Lawther, Luke Moffett and Dov Jacobs

Providing detailed and comprehensive coverage of the transitional justice field, this Research Handbook brings together leading scholars and practitioners to explore how societies deal with mass atrocities after periods of dictatorship or conflict. Situating the development of transitional justice in its historical context, social and political context, it analyses the legal instruments that have emerged.
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Chapter 22: Guatemala: Lessons for transitional justice

Naomi Roht-Arriaza


Guatemala would seem to be the poster child for transitional justice. After the peace process itself and the resulting accords came the creation of not one but two truth commissions, a program of reparations and prosecutions for crimes arising from the period of internal armed conflict, including for forced disappearances, massacres and genocide. Guatemala was the first country to put its own former head of state, José Efrain R'os Montt, on trial for genocide, and the first to try crimes of wartime sexual slavery in its own courts. The last decades have also featured attempts at institutional reform, including changes in the judiciary and security forces, and constitutional and governance reform. This chapter describes and evaluates those efforts and the lessons they provide regarding the possibilities, pitfalls and limits to transitional justice. Guatemala; truth-seeking; reparations; prosecutions; guarantees of non-repetition

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