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No more Victims? The Latin American Truth Commissions and their Implications in the Investigation of Past Violence against Women and Child Soldiers

Conflict Resolution
Human Rights
Latin America
Transitional States
Women
Cristiana Lavinia Badulescu
National University of Political Studies and Public Administration
Cristiana Lavinia Badulescu
National University of Political Studies and Public Administration
Daniela Radu
The University of South East Europe, Bucharest

Abstract

Truth Commissions are mechanisms of transitional justice which have as general objectives the reconstruction of society, the creation of functional institutions and the rule of law, as well as the achievement of a certain degree of reconciliation. Despite the fact that many of these commissions have benefited from international support and the help of international experts, they failed to achieve their objectives. This failure becomes more evident when we refer to how certain Truth Commissions addressed the issue of the past sexual violence and abuse against women and child soldiers. This paper analyses how Truth Commissions in Latin America (Colombia, Peru, Guatemala, Ecuador, Uruguay) have managed the issue of sexual violence and abuse against women and child soldiers committed by previous regimes and in times of conflict.We intend to highlight whether the Truth Commissions were concerned about the social and political factors that have driven and made possible the sexual violence and abuses, whether the Truth Commissions proposed policies for the restoration of women's and child soldiers' rights, and whether they have shaped tracks for their healing. In order to meet this paper's purposes, we will use content analysis of official documents (reports, acts constituting the Truth Commissions, resolutions, etc.) and comparative analysis to point out the distinctions and common concerns of the five chosen Truth Commissions. The qualitative analysis of data obtained from interviews with experts and from the victims’ testimonies will also be used.