The Future of the Past in Myanmar: Experimental Evidence

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:30
Location: Hörsaal 34 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Roman DAVID, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
Most countries undertaking transitions from authoritarian rules to democracy seek to overcome historical divisions and build a more inclusive society based on reconciliation and trust. They adopt some of transitional justice measures, such as prosecution, amnesty, and truth-telling, to deal with the past. In Myanmar, currently in the early stages of democratic reforms, issues of transitional justice would soon also arise. Given that the military retains considerable political power, the key questions are whether and how the country would deal with an abusive past without compromising prospects for political change. At this moment, however, the general public has not been influenced by imported discourses of international justice. This provides us with a unique opportunity to examine the potential of transitional justice to influence the prospect for social reconciliation at the onset of political transition.

The paper examines the prospect for transitional justice in Myanmar. It is based on the experimental design, which manipulated four transitional justice interventions against their absence in a 2x2x2x2 factorial design. The experiment was embedded in a representative survey of 1600 members of the general public in two major provinces and three ethnic states in Myanmar. The paper will provide us with the analysis of results about one of the most important topics of transitional justice in general and in the Myanmar’s democratization in particular.