Long Road Home

Building Reconciliation and Trust in Post-War Sierra Leone

By Laura Stovel

The 1991-2002 war in Sierra Leone was infamous for mass amputations, widespread sexual violence, and forced recruitment of children into rebel forces. It was not an ethnic war, but one that tore families and communities apart in ways that could not be sustained in peacetime. After the war, the Sierra Leone government and civil society organizations encouraged the combatants to return home and encouraged the communities to accept them, even though the combatants, or the forces they were associated with, had committed horrendous crimes in those very same villages. Long Road Home describes how the ex-combatants and the civilian survivors in Sierra Leone struggled to reconcile and build trust in their communities a year after the war ended. The book explores the contribution of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission toward reconciliation and justice, and it questions whether reconciliation is always a good thing. It also examines how the seemingly nebulous concept of reconciliation can be understood so that the term is useful for peace building and is consistent with justice. Finally, the author argues that Sierra Leone has much to teach peace builders in societies emerging from intra-communal violence and much to contribute to comparative analyses of post-conflict transitions.


302 pages

Publication Date: 4/30/2010
Format: Cloth
ISBN: 9789400000285