Accounting for the Past

The lessons for South Africa from Latin America

Legacy Link

The question of accountability has become increasingly important around the world in recent years, as different states attempting to make a transition to democracy have struggled to achieve a balance between retribution and forgetfulness in the interests of national reconciliation. Some of the most notable efforts to come to terms with a brutal past have been made in the Latin American countries recovering from decades of military dictatorship, where commissions have been appointed to unearth the truth of their terrible histories, and - in some cases - prosecutions have been undertaken to mete out justice to the perpetrators and grant a measure of compensation to the victims. This report offers a comparative study of Latin American policies on accountability, and aims to highlight the lessons that may be relevant in the South African context.

Region / Country