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  • Does Reconciliation Need Truth? On the Legal Production of the Visibility of the Past

    Riccardo Baldissone

    Chapter from the book: Pavoni, A et al. 2018. SEE.


    Any reference to the past somewhat involves its re-enactment. Whilst this veritable reconstruction of past events is incessantly staged in a private form, as a representation in the theatre of memory, it is also given a public forum in the course of a legal trial. In particular, the restitution of a shared image of the past is a key aim of the tribunals that have been assessing large-scale traumatic events and conditions, such as the South African apartheid and the Rwandan massacres. Some of these reconstructions were recently restaged as theatrical and cinematographic performances. By showing at once the inevitable hermeneutic intervention upon the past, and the irreducible plurality of its reconstructions, these fictions also challenge the assumption that processes of post-traumatic reconciliation have to be grounded on the disclosure of the univocal truth about the past. On the contrary, such re-enactments may help to do justice to the past, inasmuch as they acknowledge that producing its visibility means also producing the past itself as memory, or better, as a plurality of memories: and as different practices produce different, diverging, and also clashing memories, it would be for the law to help this plurality not only to take shape, but also to coexist.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Baldissone, R. 2018. Does Reconciliation Need Truth? On the Legal Production of the Visibility of the Past. In: Pavoni, A et al (eds.), SEE. London: University of Westminster Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/book12.d

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    Published on Feb. 22, 2018