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Women as Leaders on Truth Commissions: Advice for Future Truth Commissions

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Abstract:

Truth commissions are becoming an increasingly prominent method countries use to transition toward historical memory and justice after conflict. While truth commissions expose important human rights violations and their causes and consequences, concerns remain about how representative, gender-sensitive, and effective these commissions are. As community leaders, women can legitimize peace agreements; as statement-makers and commissioners, they can legitimize justice systems in the eyes of the community. However, the literature finds that truth commissions fail to fully include women (Rubio-MaRín, 2006; Andrews 2015). The effectiveness of these commissions may at least partially rely on involving women in the process, but this solution has not yet been quantifiably shown. Academics and professionals have called for quantitative studies to better explain the effectiveness of truth commissions (Brahm, 2007; Reiter and Brahm, 2016). Scholars believe that solid quantitative evidence would help prevent policy decisions during and following truth commissions from being made based solely on tradition or opinion (Van der Merwe, Baxter, and Chapman, 2009). If countries had access to quantitative evidence that women's leadership and other participation enhanced commission effectiveness, would they more willingly include women?

Methods and Results:
We predict that the level of women’s involvement in the truth commission improves the implementation of the commission’s recommendations at both the five and ten year mark, generally when follow-up reports occur. As such, this study will evaluate the involvement of women in the preparatory phase and in the actual execution of all 33 past truth commissions. We will quantify women’s level of involvement (e.g. as commissioners, technical advisers, statement-makers) and the implementation of specific recommendations (e.g. financial restitution, legal redress, and social services) (ICTJ, 2016). Atypical and typical reparations, for example, include community centers, cash transfers, surgeries, and skills and jobs training, while other recommendations include changes of laws, prosecutions, awareness campaigns and education initiatives, therapy for victims, public displays of honor or ceremonies, and removal of individuals or groups of people from public office. We will then run a multivariate regression using interaction terms to determine whether the level of women’s involvement in these two phases of the truth commission determines the success of implementation in the following years.

Through this project, we hope to provide an important literature contribution by demonstrating the quantitative significance of involving women in the preparatory work and execution of truth commissions. We also hope to make a significant policy contribution to the field. Understanding the best practices of past truth commissions is imperative to successful implementation of just practices in future truth commissions. As Colombia anticipates a future truth commission, we hope to convince truth commission-designers of the importance of including women in all phases of the work, and we will collaborate with a private research team in Colombia to make policy recommendations. In addition to the current collaboration with Colombia, our research findings can also be applied to all countries transitioning toward justice and equality. This paper will provide evidence regarding the most important ways to include women, thereby providing incentives for countries to actively involve women throughout the process.

If sufficient quantifiable data required to make the analysis is not found, this study still makes an important contribution. As one of the first to attempt to quantify data regarding women and truth commissions, insufficient data will lead to important recommendations for countries to release the necessary information to conduct a quantitative study in the future. If, for example, not enough countries have released their official victims registries, list of reparation awardees, and/or list of individuals to be prosecuted or vetted, the study will not be able to evaluate the commissioners' specific recommendations. This paper would then recommend that countries make these records public so that future evaluations could be conducted.

As legitimate actors in the transitional justice process, whether women are involved and whether they get redress is a legitimate way to study long-term effectiveness of truth commissions. Beyond truth, post-conflict governments should also prioritize as legitimate outcomes those of justice, healing, and empowerment. Thus, governments entering the transitional justice period need to perceive women as legitimate leaders with which to staff truth commissions, legitimate victims to target for statement-taking and reparations, and legitimate stakeholders in the long-term effectiveness of a truth commission.
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Association:
Name: APSA Annual Meeting & Exhibition
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http://www.apsanet.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1258630_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Hodgson, Kaylee., Romeri-Lewis, Natalie. and Riley, Eliza. "Women as Leaders on Truth Commissions: Advice for Future Truth Commissions" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the APSA Annual Meeting & Exhibition, TBA, San Francisco, CA, Aug 31, 2017 <Not Available>. 2018-06-19 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1258630_index.html>

APA Citation:

Hodgson, K. B., Romeri-Lewis, N. W. and Riley, E. , 2017-08-31 "Women as Leaders on Truth Commissions: Advice for Future Truth Commissions" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the APSA Annual Meeting & Exhibition, TBA, San Francisco, CA <Not Available>. 2018-06-19 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1258630_index.html

Publication Type: iPoster
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Truth commissions are becoming an increasingly prominent method countries use to transition toward historical memory and justice after conflict. While truth commissions expose important human rights violations and their causes and consequences, concerns remain about how representative, gender-sensitive, and effective these commissions are. As community leaders, women can legitimize peace agreements; as statement-makers and commissioners, they can legitimize justice systems in the eyes of the community. However, the literature finds that truth commissions fail to fully include women (Rubio-MaRín, 2006; Andrews 2015). The effectiveness of these commissions may at least partially rely on involving women in the process, but this solution has not yet been quantifiably shown. Academics and professionals have called for quantitative studies to better explain the effectiveness of truth commissions (Brahm, 2007; Reiter and Brahm, 2016). Scholars believe that solid quantitative evidence would help prevent policy decisions during and following truth commissions from being made based solely on tradition or opinion (Van der Merwe, Baxter, and Chapman, 2009). If countries had access to quantitative evidence that women's leadership and other participation enhanced commission effectiveness, would they more willingly include women?

Methods and Results:
We predict that the level of women’s involvement in the truth commission improves the implementation of the commission’s recommendations at both the five and ten year mark, generally when follow-up reports occur. As such, this study will evaluate the involvement of women in the preparatory phase and in the actual execution of all 33 past truth commissions. We will quantify women’s level of involvement (e.g. as commissioners, technical advisers, statement-makers) and the implementation of specific recommendations (e.g. financial restitution, legal redress, and social services) (ICTJ, 2016). Atypical and typical reparations, for example, include community centers, cash transfers, surgeries, and skills and jobs training, while other recommendations include changes of laws, prosecutions, awareness campaigns and education initiatives, therapy for victims, public displays of honor or ceremonies, and removal of individuals or groups of people from public office. We will then run a multivariate regression using interaction terms to determine whether the level of women’s involvement in these two phases of the truth commission determines the success of implementation in the following years.

Through this project, we hope to provide an important literature contribution by demonstrating the quantitative significance of involving women in the preparatory work and execution of truth commissions. We also hope to make a significant policy contribution to the field. Understanding the best practices of past truth commissions is imperative to successful implementation of just practices in future truth commissions. As Colombia anticipates a future truth commission, we hope to convince truth commission-designers of the importance of including women in all phases of the work, and we will collaborate with a private research team in Colombia to make policy recommendations. In addition to the current collaboration with Colombia, our research findings can also be applied to all countries transitioning toward justice and equality. This paper will provide evidence regarding the most important ways to include women, thereby providing incentives for countries to actively involve women throughout the process.

If sufficient quantifiable data required to make the analysis is not found, this study still makes an important contribution. As one of the first to attempt to quantify data regarding women and truth commissions, insufficient data will lead to important recommendations for countries to release the necessary information to conduct a quantitative study in the future. If, for example, not enough countries have released their official victims registries, list of reparation awardees, and/or list of individuals to be prosecuted or vetted, the study will not be able to evaluate the commissioners' specific recommendations. This paper would then recommend that countries make these records public so that future evaluations could be conducted.

As legitimate actors in the transitional justice process, whether women are involved and whether they get redress is a legitimate way to study long-term effectiveness of truth commissions. Beyond truth, post-conflict governments should also prioritize as legitimate outcomes those of justice, healing, and empowerment. Thus, governments entering the transitional justice period need to perceive women as legitimate leaders with which to staff truth commissions, legitimate victims to target for statement-taking and reparations, and legitimate stakeholders in the long-term effectiveness of a truth commission.


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