Confronting State Terror and Atrocity
Routledge – 2001 – 368 pages
Routledge – 2001 – 368 pages
This book is a profound exploration of truth commissions around the world, and the anguish, injustice, and the legacy of hate they are meant to absolve. Hayner examines twenty major truth commissions established around the world paying special attention to South Africa, El Salvador, Argentina, Chile, and Guatemala.
"…an extraordinarily comprehensive and thorough examination of all recorded truth commissions….Unspeakable Truths goes beyond the valuable work of documenting a diverse history to analyze a set of critical issues in the design and impact of human rights investigations." —Research Review
"A society considering forming a truth commission would find Hayner's book the best guide available. She offers some surprising details of lessons learned alongside her nuanced analysis and thoughtful suggestion for criteria concerning the establishment of a commission, the general form it should take, and necessary supplemental institutions." —David A. Crocker, University of Maryland
"…offers essential insight into how truth commissions might serve human rights and justice." —Richard Goldstone, in The American Prospect
"…provides a wealth of information and insights on truth commissions, much of it previously inaccessible except to specialist…" —Washington Times
"…essential reading to anyone interested in the process of how a state rebuilds in the wake of atrocity." —The New Jersey Star-Ledger
"Broad in scope, yet rich in detail, Unspeakable Truths is a masterly survey of a new phenomenon which combines an informed discussion of the legal complexities and ethical dilemmas involved in establishing truth commissions with a compassionate regard for the victims of human rights abuses." —Desmond M. Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa
"At last Priscilla Hayner has come along, supplying the first detailed survey of national and individual experiences with truth commissions. Hayner offers a stirring, trenchant, and nuanced account of the complex range of issues faced by those attempting to move forward while also looking backward…. Hayner writes about unspeakable truths, and herself is not afraid to utter them, as she challenges some of our core assumptions about truth, forgiveness, justice and healing." —Samatha Power, author of A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide
"A compelling account . . . no one has examined these bodies more closely and more perceptively than Pricilla Hayner." —Aryeh Neier, author of War Crimes: Brutality, Genocide, Terror, and the Struggle for Justice
"Hayner writes in an accessible, straightforward style that is at once comprehensive, compassionate, and utterly candid. She challenges many widely held assumptions about the ends and means of truth commissions. She points to the tendency to expect more from them than they could ever possibly deliver." —The Christian Science Monitor
"Hayner has written a thoughtful and illuminating book that deepens our understanding of the perils and possibilities of a contemporary dilemma—how to judge the heinous crimes of the past without compromising a country's future. Unspeakable Truths needs to be heard. And read." —Robert A. Pastor, American University; former National Security Advisor for Latin America
"…not only communicates a wealth of knowledge on the phenomenon of truth commissions, but also knowledge that can be directly employed by those who are involved in devising strategies of transitional justice… we have to hope that those in a position to make decisions on future truth commissions have a copy of Unspeakable Truths." —Human Rights and Human Welfare
Priscilla B. Hayner co-founded the International Center for Transitional Justice and served as program director and director of its Geneva office. She has advised truth commissions in well over a dozen countries, working with the United Nations, the Ford Foundation, and others, and has been featured in Newsweek, the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and Le Temps. She is currently writing on the subject of justice in peace negotiations.