Document Type

Honors Project


This paper won the 2007 Undergraduate Student Paper Award from the American Sociological Association Section on the Sociology of Law.


The recent propagation of Truth and Reconciliation Commissions around the world marks the beginning of a shift from retribution and war tribunals to reconciliation and restorative justice. What factors have lead to this remarkable transition? This study looks to answer this question by employing a comparative-historical research method to examine recent TRCs in South Africa, Sierra Leone, and Peru. Grounding this research in popular theories of state policy making, this study looks to distill the influence of both international and domestic actors on the state’s creation of a TRC. The research demonstrates the varied influence of both international actors, who offer significant resources in some cases and play a supportive bystander role in others, as well as sub-national organizations that have also been found to vary in composition and structure, specifically in the role of the church. While these distinctions are worth drawing attention to, this analysis concludes by suggesting that the influence of these organizations in each case demonstrates that both factors are nonetheless essential to the creation of a TRC.



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