Truth and Reconciliation

Truth and Reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina

This is a two-year research project focusing on the conditions for further movement towards Truth and Reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

It starts from a reflection on the repeated attempts to drive forward a formal Truth and Reconciliation Commission which have, despite promising signs of support at various levels, ultimately not succeeded.

A key reason advanced for this is the lack of civil society buy-in. Through surveys, interviews, focus groups, expert seminars and stakeholder dialogues, this project examines understandings at all levels of civil society and in the wider public of both practical and basic conceptual issues which will determine priorities for further progress.

What objectives are sought through a truth and reconciliation process? What dimensions of the truth about the past are more important for stakeholders and the population at large, and what objectives will fuller public awareness of the truth about the past serve? What needs are currently met by initiatives in Bosnia-Herzegovina to confront the past, and what needs are not being met? What needs to be done to improve relations across social divisions in the country? What will improve the provision for trustworthy public services crossing these divisions, whether it be education, media, justice or otherwise? Should a truth and reconciliation process focus on populations often characterized as intransigent? On movements and individuals prepared to break with the divisions of the past? On the national, the regional or the very local level? On victims, and if this is to be determined then particularly on which victims? On the young? On women? On secular or religious citizens? Or on a diverse range of processes and actors able to create ‘two-way windows’ between otherwise divided communities?

The dedicated team at the University of Edinburgh is working on this project in collaboration with academics and other specialists from across Bosnia-Herzegovina, from its region, and internationally.

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