Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 25 Issue 6 (November/December 2015), Pages 459-548

How Transitional Justice Processes and Official Apologies Influence Reconciliation: The Case of the Chilean ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ and ‘Political Imprisonment and Torture’ Commissions (pages 515-530)


Perceptions of the ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ and ‘Political Imprisonment and Torture’ commissions and related beliefs, emotions and socio‐emotional climate were analysed in people affected and unaffected by past political violence in Chile (N = 1278). People directly affected regard institutional apologies as less sincere and effective, and they were more critical of the commissions. Those who have a positive appraisal of the commissions, compared with people who disagree with the commissions activities, are less prone to forget past collective violence; report higher levels of negative emotions, such as shame, and positive ones, such as pride and hope, about the collective past; and consider that the commissions contributed to knowing the truth about what happened to victims and helped bring human rights violators to justice. Those appraising the commissions in a positive fashion also perceive a more positive emotional climate and inter‐group trust, have more confidence in institutions and report more universalistic values. A multiple‐regression analysis suggests that commissions play a relatively successful role as transitional justice rituals, reinforcing reconciliation. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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