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Peace versus justice

The Sri Lankan government claims ownership of the truth

By Marc Weller   February 2013

Peace and justice, we are told, are mortal enemies. If you want peace, you need to be prepared to sacrifice the demands of justice. And if you insist on justice, you cannot have peace. Hence, after violent civil conflicts, questions of accountability, truth-finding and reconciliation have often been subsumed to a demand for the victims to forget their grievances in the wider interests of peace.

It is argued that a society cannot move on if it is transfixed by the traumas and sins of its past. But the experience of conflict over the past century proves the opposite: the past…

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