Truth, Justice, and the War on Terror




Konell, Marissa Ginger

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This thesis examines whether a truth commission could be an effective means for establishing truth and serving justice for the abuses committed in the war on terror. Although truth commissions have generally been implemented in contexts that fall within the realm of transitional justice, this study applies the work of previous truth commissions to the non-transitional context in the United States. As such, this thesis includes research focusing on methods that previous truth commissions have employed in their pursuit of truth and justice, and evaluates whether and how such methods could be applied to the war on terror. Among other things, previous truth commissions’ efforts to express the complex origins and consequences underlying widespread human rights violations could be applied to establish a comprehensive understanding of the genesis and fallout for the abuses committed in the war on terror. In a similar respect, the victim-centered approach employed in previous truth commissions could serve restorative justice, which promotes concepts such as reform and reconciliation in a manner that augments traditional tenets of justice that tend to focus on wrongdoer accountability. While the relative effectiveness of a truth commission for the war on terror remains theoretical because there is no specific precedent for non-transitional governments, this thesis concludes that a truth commission could be uniquely tailored to suit the needs of the United States in order to establish the truth and serve justice for the abuses committed in the war on terror.



Truth commission, War on terror, Restorative justice, Torture