The forgiveness dilemma: emotions and justice at the Khmer Rouge tribunal

Renee Jeffery

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    In post-conflict politics, forgiveness is as controversial as it is popular. Generally conceived as the overcoming of negative moral emotions such as resentment and anger, forgiveness is, on the one hand, credited with bestowing significant psychological benefits on its practitioners, contributing to processes of interpersonal and societal reconciliation, and avoiding revenge. On the other hand, however, critics warn that rather than helping to address the negative emotions, forgiveness actually helps to provoke resentments and grievances by heaping injustice upon injustice. Herein lies the dilemma with which this article is concerned. By examining the nature of the negative emotions and their relationship to the pursuit of justice, as well as the nature and consequences of forgiveness, it considers the role that victim participation in human rights trials plays in helping post-conflict societies to overcome the forgiveness dilemma. To do so, it focuses on Case 001, heard before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)35-52
    JournalAustralian Journal of International Affairs
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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