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What does it mean for two groups to reconcile? Is there a difference between political reconciliation and the cessation of violence? Between political reconciliation and the signing of a formal peace treaty? And if there is, what is the “added ingredient” that indicates two groups are actually reconciling?

Interest in political reconciliation and in the related concept of transitional justice peaked after the wave of postcommunist transitions in Europe and, in particular, after South Africa’s move to democracy in the mid-1990s. In many of these political upheavals, the newly formed democracies tried to address a legacy of past abuses in order to create civic trust and provide a legitimate footing for the new constitutional regimes.

Thus, for example, the Czechs instituted an ambitious program of lustration ...

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