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Transitional justice means finding the truth: President Tsai

2017/12/10 21:26:44

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文)

Taipei, Dec. 10 (CNA) The purpose of transitional justice is to uncover the truth about repressive authoritarianism to ensure that the horrors of the past will never happen again and to move towards reconciliation, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Sunday.

Tsai said that transitional justice means working to document history, restore the dignity of victims whose names had been marred by unlawful convictions, and to bring people together to talk about finding a path to truth, justice and reconciliation.

Given the seriousness of all those issues, Tsai said, her government would implement the measures set forth under the recently enacted Transitional Justice Act "in a most somber manner."

The entire history of the nation is what will be reviewed and addressed, she said at an event held by the Ministry of Culture to observe Human Rights Day, Dec. 10.

"It would be a pity if transitional justice is treated as a means of name change," Tsai said, in reference to speculations roads and schools named after Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) would be renamed following the passage of the law.

The speculations revolve around Article 5 of the law, which states that symbols in the public sphere aimed at commemorating rulers of authoritarian regimes "shall be removed, renamed or dealt with in different ways."

In her address, Tsai said that two core principles will be upheld in the implementation of transitional justice.

"There cannot be transitional justice without reconciliation," she said. "And the one and only way to address unjust legacies left by former authoritarian regimes is through democracy."

The audience at the Human Rights Day event included former political victims and their relatives and people from home and abroad who had risked their lives to help such victims.

Tsai that she hopes senior citizens will share their stories with younger people to turn transitional justice into a "collective movement of the society" in which the people of Taiwan can look at the past and plan the future together.

Meanwhile, Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said at a reception at the event that the government will continue to ensure that all the steps to protect human rights are put in place to give Taiwan the best human rights record in Asia.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)