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„Die Tragödie beginnt erst nach dem Ende der Verbrechen“. Eine Kultur der Straflosigkeit behindert die Rehabilitation von Überlebenden schwerer Menschenrechtsverletzungen

Knut Rauchfuss

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Knut Rauchfuss: „The Tragedy starts, after the Crimes have ended“. A Culture of Impunity impedes the Rehabilitation of Severe Human Rights Violations Survivors.

Reports from different countries and conflicts demonstrate that impunity is one of the key obstacles for stabilization and rehabilitation of severe human rights violations survivors. Impunity is not only the absence of legal justice but a social phenomenon, which includes incomplete truth finding, missing integral reparation, a lack of structural reforms, as well as the inability to overcome the legal protection of perpetrators assured by impunity laws. In this context survivors are hardly able to achieve the necessary integration of their traumatic experiences into their own biography, to accomplish the restoration of their destroyed life scripts and the rebuild self-confidence and selfdetermination. Mental health problems resulting from traumatic experiences can persist or be activated any time by certain daily events even years later. In particular, family members of the forcibly disappeared suffer from an incomplete mourning due to the uncertain fate of their loved ones. The ongoing search for the disappeared in an atmosphere of impunity places family members at high risk for retraumatization. Due to the global character of impunity there is expected to be only little evidence for the positive impact of justice on mental health. Nevertheless, such evidence does exist, showing that impunity not only creates a strong barrier to a sustainable recovery, but it prolongs and deepens the traumatic experience.