The main aim of this book has been to analyse what determines how new democracies face an authoritarian past (and human rights violations in particular) and, in turn, the way in which policies of truth and justice shape the process of democratization. Thus, eighteen cases are analysed in detail, covering a good part of the processes of democratization that have taken place since the beginning of the 1970s; countries experiencing a political change that did not undergo a transition to democracy have been left out, as have countries in which truth and justice policies are the result of the end of a civil conflict where there is no accompanying movement towards democratization. The key obstacle to theorizing about this topic is the enormous influence of the particular historical evolution of each country, and various factors emerging therefrom, on policies of truth and justice in transition. Thus, a general overview to categorize different experiences of transitions from dictatorial rule according to the balance of power between authoritarians and democrats is immediately useful, although the aim of the editors has been to keep sight of the peculiar nature of national experiences while providing some kind of useful guidelines for approaching the subject. It is in this spirit that the two sets of conclusions offered here provide a way of looking at the issue of transitional truth and justice: the first pertains to the probability that a new democracy will undertake policies of this kind; the second refers to the consequences that such policies may have for democratic life or democratization.
Keywords: democratization, human rights violations, justice, new democracies, transition from authoritarian rule, transitional democracy, transitional policies, transitional truth and justice, truth and justice
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