Coping with the past in Rwanda, Cambodia and Guatemala

PRIF Study No. 24 examines the process of coming to terms with the past as a necessary condition for sustainable peace-building

Dealing with experienced injustice and violence in an adequate and differentiated way is a matter of enormous importance in post-war societies: On the one hand, it is a moral obligation to do justice to the victims. On the other hand, it constitutes an important condition to prevent conflicts from breaking out anew.

Therefore, development cooperation also has to deal with the issue of coping with the past. Whereas specific aspects and instruments have come into the focus of scientific studies and academic debate over the course of the last years, there is still a lack of a holistic concept.

PRIF Study No. 24 "Vergangenheitsbewältigung in Ruanda, Kambodscha und Guatemala. Die Implementierung normativer Ansprüche" aims at filling this gap. To this end, the three cases of Rwanda, Cambodia and Guatemala are examined, which differ from each other with regards to their cultural and historical backgrounds as well as concerning the initial situation and course of the conflicts.

On this basis, the author develops a sequence of different stages in the process of coming to terms with the past and gives recommendations on how national and international actors can make a positive contribution.

Kira Auer studied sociology, ethnology and political science at Trier University and received her PhD from Darmstadt University. Since 2013, she has been a development worker with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in Guatemala.

This PRIF study is available at Nomos publishing house.