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Title: Former rebel groups and the politics of apologies
Author: Ireton, Shannon Kathleen
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2013
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Within the field of transitional justice, knowledge of many aspects of post-conflict reconciliation continues to evolve, including the use of public apologies. This thesis considers in particular the role and politics of post-conflict apologies by former rebel groups, attempting to fill a gap in the current literature on political apologies that fails to consider apologies by rebel groups. It provides initial insights into the question, 'why do rebel groups apologise in some cases, but not in others?' This is achieved by comparing three cases - two where rebel group apologies are present, Northern Ireland (Provisional Irish Republican Army) and South Africa (African National Congress), and one where there is no rebel group apology, Cyprus (EOKA) - through three variables, security, politics, and society to determine possible influences on the apology outcome and the motivations of rebel groups to offer an apology, or refuse to apologise. Within each of the independent variables, specific factors are scrutinised and compared to determine their relative influence on the rebel groups' apology outcome. These include factors such as community violence and decommissioning, international influences, public opinion and elections, civil society, symbolism, and reconciliation. Comparative analysis of these factors revealed several motivations behind rebel group apology outcomes. Specifically, I argue that the transition to politics results in rebel groups behaving in a manner similar to that of states in relation to political apologies; that civil society has a stronger influence than formalised truth or reconciliation commissions; that the 'Age of Apology' has normalised the use of political apologies and had a positive socializing effect on rebel groups to offer an apology; and that apologies are used both for the purposes of reconciliation and for political gain. The conclusions of the thesis have implications beyond the specific groups analysed. The large number of societies emerging from civil conflict, grappling to deal with post-conflict trauma often count rebel groups among the relevant stakeholders. The question of how to transition and diffuse these groups will continue to pose dilemmas for policy makers and peace workers, making academic study of rebel group apologies a priority.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available