Roundtable: Historical truth and accountability in the post-colonial state

Roundtable organised by Tine Destrooper and Cira-Palli Aspero at the 9th Annual Conference of the Historical Dialogues, Justice & Memory Network, that will take place at  NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies (Amsterdam), from June 9-11, 2022.

Consolidated democracies are increasingly facing pressures to come to terms with the legacy of their violent colonial pasts, and to address how these pasts bear upon the present. Accountability for historical (and ongoing) wrongdoings and injustices related to colonialism is a crucial component thereof.

In post-colonial contexts, where criminal justice may not be the best way to seek accountability for harm done, it is plausible that different ways of arriving at accountability might be more relevant. In these contexts, both state and non-state actors are increasingly installing (historical) truth-seeking initiatives to contribute to the processes of (state) acknowledgement, recognition, and redress of past wrongdoing.

This roundtable explores whether these (historical) truth-seeking processes can be seen as a form of accountability, and if so, how. To this end, it focuses on the nexus as well as the tensions between truth-seeking and accountability within the post-colonial context, as well as on whether and how different stakeholders engage with the notion of truth-as-accountability for different purposes.

Date & Time

June 9, 2022



NIOD Instituut voor Oorlogs-, Holocaust- en Genocidestudies, Herengracht, Amsterdam, Netherlands


Organized by Historical Dialogues, Justice and Memory Network