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Truth Telling as Talking Cure?: Insecurity and Retraumatization in the Rwandan Gacaca Courts
Uppsala universitet, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för freds- och konfliktforskning.ORCID-id: 0000-0002-3298-8848
2008 (engelsk)Inngår i: Security Dialogue, ISSN 0967-0106, E-ISSN 1460-3640, Vol. 39, nr 1, s. 55-76Artikkel i tidsskrift (Fagfellevurdert) Published
Abstract [en]

This article presents unique material from in-depth interviews with 16 women in Rwanda who have testified in the gacaca, the village tribunals initiated to enhance reconciliation after the 1994 genocide. The aim of the interviews was to learn more of how testifying in such a public event as the gacaca affects psychological health. Do the women find the experience healing or retraumatizing? Are there other effects involved? There has been an assumption that testifying in truth and reconciliation commissions is a healing experience for survivors, and healing has been a central concept in the general reconciliation literature and in political rhetoric around truth commissions. However, the findings of this study are alarming. Traumatization, ill-health, isolation, and insecurity dominate the lives of these testifying women. They are threatened and harassed before, during, and after giving testimony in the gacaca. The article provides a picture of the reconciliation process that we seldom see.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
2008. Vol. 39, nr 1, s. 55-76
Emneord [en]
truth and reconciliation commissions, healing, security, psychological health, Rwanda
HSV kategori
Forskningsprogram
Freds- och konfliktforskning
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-96853DOI: 10.1177/0967010607086823ISI: 000253378000003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-96853DiVA, id: diva2:171572
Tilgjengelig fra: 2008-03-28 Laget: 2008-03-28 Sist oppdatert: 2018-01-13bibliografisk kontrollert
Inngår i avhandling
1. Rethinking Reconciliation: Concepts, Methods, and an Empirical Study of Truth Telling and Psychological Health in Rwanda
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>Rethinking Reconciliation: Concepts, Methods, and an Empirical Study of Truth Telling and Psychological Health in Rwanda
2008 (engelsk)Doktoravhandling, med artikler (Annet vitenskapelig)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation combines psychology with peace and conflict research in a cross-disciplinary approach to reconciliation processes after intrastate armed conflict. Two overarching contributions are made to the field of reconciliation research. The first is conceptual and methodological. The vague concept of reconciliation is defined and operationalized (Paper I), and a method is proposed for how reconciliation may be studied systematically at the national level (Paper II). By discussing what reconciliation is and how we should measure it, comparative research on reconciliation is facilitated which is imperative if we wish to learn of its promises and pitfalls in post-conflict peacebuilding. The second contribution is empirical. There has been an assumption that truth telling is healing and thereby will lead to reconciliation; healing is the assumed link between truth and reconciliation. This assumption was investigated in two studies in Rwanda in 2006. A multistage, stratified cluster random survey of 1,200 adults was conducted to assess whether witnessing in the gacaca, the Rwandan village tribunals for truth and reconciliation, was beneficial for psychological health; thereby investigating the claim that truth telling is healing (Paper III). The results of the survey are disconcerting. Witnesses in the gacaca suffered from significantly higher levels of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder than non-witnesses also when controlling for important predictors for psychological ill-health such as gender or trauma exposure. To acquire a more comprehensive understanding of the experience of witnessing in the gacaca, in-depth interviews were conducted with 16 women genocide survivors who had witnessed in the gacaca (Paper IV). The results of this study challenge the claim that truth telling is healing, suggesting instead that there are risks for the individuals on whom truth-telling processes depend. Traumatization, ill-health, isolation, and insecurity dominate the lives of the testifying women. Insecurity as a result of the truth-telling process emerged as one of the most crucial issues at stake. This dissertation presents a novel understanding of the complexity of reconciliation in post-conflict peacebuilding, demonstrating that truth and reconciliation processes may entail more risks than were previously known. The results of this dissertation can be used to improve the study and the design of truth and reconciliation processes after civil war and genocide.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
Uppsala: Institutionen för freds- och konfliktforskning, 2008. s. 34
Serie
Report / Department of Peace and Conflict Research, ISSN 0566-8808 ; 81
Emneord
Peace and conflict research, reconciliation, truth commissions, truth telling, peacebuilding, internal conflict, security, witnessing, psychological health, Rwanda, Freds- och konfliktforskning
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-8530 (URN)978-91-506-1992-8 (ISBN)
Disputas
2008-04-18, sal X, Universitetshuset, Uppsala, 10:15
Opponent
Veileder
Tilgjengelig fra: 2008-03-28 Laget: 2008-03-28 Sist oppdatert: 2017-05-03bibliografisk kontrollert

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