Political Reconciliation, the Rule of Law, and Genocide

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Political reconciliation involves the repairing of damaged political relationships. This paper considers the possibility and moral justifiability of pursuing political reconciliation in the aftermath of systematic and egregious wrongdoing, in particular genocide. The first two sections discuss what political reconciliation specifically requires. I argue that it neither entails nor necessitates forgiveness. Rather, I claim, political reconciliation should be conceptualized as the (re-)establishment of Fullerian mutual respect for the rule of law. When a society governs by law, publicly declared legal rules establish clear and practicable standards for behavior which are enforced in practice. Subjects of the law thus can form stable and reasonable predictions of how other citizens and officials will respond to their actions. After explaining why this analysis of political reconciliation is compelling, the third section spells out the implications of my analysis for determining the possibility of achieving and the justifiability of pursuing political reconciliation.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)853-865
JournalEuropean Legacy
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2007


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