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Donald W. Shriver, Jr. on What Trials Cannot Do

Perhaps the best of legal systems will always come to decisions freighted with ambiguous versions of truth. Judges and lawyers are not comfortable with ambiguous evidence leading to ambiguous decisions. A fortiori, for making judgments on the mixtures of guilt and innocence in many an ‘administrative massacre’, ordinary courts are weak determiners of truth. They are notoriously weak in those transitional situation in which the remnants of old unjust law and old unreformed judges still hold sway. In the interim, truth commissions fill a gap that courts cannot.