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In 1991, after the end of the Pinochet regime, the newly-elected democratic government of Chile established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to investigate and report on some of the worst human rights violations committed under the seventeen-year military dictatorship. The Chilean TRC was one of the first truth commissions established in the world. This book examines whether and how the work of the Chilean TRC contributed to the transition to democracy in Chile and to subsequent developments in accountability and transformation in that country.
The book takes a long term view on the Chilean TRBC asking to what extent and how the truth commission contributed to the development of the subsequent human rights initiatives that were implemented, and how this relationship was established over time. It argues that, contrary to the views and expectations of those who considered that the Chilean TRC was of limited success, that the Chilean TRC has, in fact, over the longer term, played a key role as an enabler of justice and a means by which ethical and institutional transformation has occurred within Chile. With the benefit of this historical perspective, the book concludes that the impact of truth commissions in general needs to be carefully reviewed in light of the Chilean experience.