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There is a view, very common internationally now, that ‘reconciliation’ in Sri Lanka will not come about, until there is ‘justice’ and ‘accountability.’ These arguments are well known now but it’s worth delving into the basic assumptions that underlie them. It is assumed, in the ‘reconciliation’ argument, that there were two sides which fought for a long time. That one side defeated the other side. Now, both sides must stand trial, so that charges, for which ‘credible evidence’ is available, can be proved. Once proved, the leaders or representatives of both sides must be punished. And then, all will be well. Really?

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