September 26, 2020

CRITIQUE WORKSHOP The Politics and Ethics of Truth Commissions – 28 January 2021, 6 pm

The Politics and Ethics of Truth Commissions

An International Forum on the Final Report by the Colombian Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence and Non-repetition  

The analysis of truth commissions has gained philosophical attention in the last decades, especially after the unprecedented experiment of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the 90s. As part of a prolific discussion in the field of transitional justice, theoretical questions on the therapeutic effect of truth in divided societies, the existence of diverse narratives about a violent past or the democratic potential of truth-seeking bodies have been extensively analysed in academic debates. On the occasion of the forthcoming report of the Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence and Non-repetition in Colombia, it is pertinent to take up some of these theoretical debates in a critical conversation on the role of truth commissions in divided societies. Through an inclusive cast of participants, the event will cross-pollinate: 

1. Academic research on truth, narratives of violence, structural injustice, retrospective and prospective justice and reconciliation. 

2. Institutional reflections from the viewpoint of truths commissions on how theoretical debates influence their day-to-day work. 

3. Considerations on the therapeutic and political effect of truth-seeking institutions on victims of violence.


Alejandro Castillejo-Cuéllar – Commissioner, Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence, and Non-Recurrence and Associate Professor in Anthropology at Universidad de los Andes, Colombia.

Lisa Laplante – Professor of Law and Director of the Center for International Law and Policy, New England Law, Boston, US.

Jaqueline Castillo, Association of Mothers of False Positives of Soacha and Bogotá, Colombia.

Gustavo Rojas-Páez – Member of the Program of Critical Studies for Political Transitions and Lecturer in Law at Universidad Libre, Colombia.

Please register on Eventbrite.

Organisers: Camilo Ardila Arévalo and Ioana Popescu