OTPIC Officially Retired

As of December 2, 2005, the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict (OTPIC) has been officially retired, and is no longer open to new registrations.

The successor to OTPIC is a course called Dealing Constructively with Intractable Conflicts (DCIC). The new curriculum is built around one of our major projects, Beyond Intractability, and offers a much more extensive and informative set of learning materials than that available through OTPIC.

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International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict

Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA

Truth Commissions

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Truth commissions are a strategy designed for situations in which war crimes and human rights abuses have largely stopped and societies are struggling to come to terms with the tragedy. One focus is  investigations to determine what actually happened, especially to people who may have just "disappeared." There is also the challenge of determining who was responsible and assigning appropriate punishment. This requires one to consider the forces that led people to commit such crimes. In the most serious cases the crimes are attributable to absolutely indefensible behavior by people who knew what they were doing and had the power to stop it. In other cases, crimes may have been perpetuated by lower ranking officials who were, in fact, being forced to do what they did by people in higher authority. Still, other crimes may have resulted from the terrible effects of violent escalation which can lead to the kind of emotional hysteria which causes people to do things that they would otherwise consider absolutely unthinkable. This results in a situation in which both sides are committing atrocities to avenge and retaliate for atrocities committed by the other side.

Reconciliation of past war crimes often presents a difficult dilemma. On the one hand, victims of these terrible crimes, find it impossible to simply forget about the crimes and live in a society with the perpetrators as if nothing happened. For them some measure of justice is likely to be an essential part of the healing process. On the other hand, if the victims of such crimes insist on holding everyone fully responsible for what might be quite murderous acts, then the result is likely to be an all out fight to the death rather than reconciliation and healing.   Here strategies that combine a search for truth and justice, linked with amnesty and forgiveness are likely to be essential.

Links to Examples of Truth Commissions:

Tanya Glaser--Truth and Reconciliation Commission; South Africa
This is a short description of South Africa's Truth Commission (more information is given in the additional outside articles linked to below).

Links to Outside Sources of Information on Truth Commissions:

"Commission of Inquiry" in Rwanda: Accountability for War Crimes and Genocide--United States Institute of Peace - Special Report

Bosnia to Form a Single Truth Commission. -US. Institute of Peace

Links to Related Sections

Re-integration of Losers

Face-saving surrender

Apology and Forgiveness

Criminal Prosecution

Copyright 1998 Conflict Research Consortium  -- Contact: crc@colorado.edu