Reconciliation sentiment among former perpetrators of violence during the Colombian armed conflict

Published date01 December 2018
Date01 December 2018
Reconciliation sentiment among former perpetrators
of violence during the Colombian armed conflict
Wilson López López
| Dario León Rincón
| Claudia Pineda-Marín
Etienne Mullet
Department of Psychology, Pontificia
Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia
Department of Psychology, Universidad Católica
de Colombia, Colombia
Department of Psychology, Fundación
Universitaria Konrad Lorenz, Bogotá, Colombia
Department of Ethics, Institute of Advanced
Studies (EPHE), Paris, France
Etienne Mullet, 17bis, rue de Quefes, F-31830
Plaisance du Touch, France.
This study assessed reconciliation sentiment among for-
mer members of Colombian paramilitary and guerilla
groups. A total of 103 participants who were detained in
rehabilitation centers were presented with an augmented
version of the Reconciliation Sentiment Questionnaire.
Overall, participants considered that they had achieved
some measure of reconciliation with the people they
harmed. Most viewed themselves as able to control their
nervousness and impulses in situations in which victims
were physically present or victims were simply evoked,
and most felt sure, to a reasonable extent, that victims did
not intend to seek vengeance. Nevertheless, a minority
mostly former members of the guerillas and detainees
who did not attend rehabilitation programswas not sure
that acts of vengeance would not be attempted. A majority
of participants was, to some extent, willing to trust and
cooperate with former victims and probably the society at
large. Only two, however, were totally convinced that it
would be possible to do so.
Reconciliation is not a unitary concept (Alzate & Dono, 2017; Rettberg & Ugarriza, 2016). Its precise
meaning depends on the extent to which trust and cooperationthat is, relationships among former
belligerentshave been restored (McIntosh, 2014). According to Mukashema, Bugay, and Mullet
(2018), four levels of reconciliation can be usefully distinguished. First, and ideally, reconciliation
may mean the complete cessation of hostility between former belligerents, the restoration of friend-
ship, and extensive collaboration among former opponents for the attainment of common objectives.
Nadler and Liviatan (2004) called it socioemotional reconciliation. This level of reconciliation
implies mutual acknowledgment of past wrongs, mutual seeking and granting of forgiveness, and
critical examination of past values and political attitudes (Digeser, 2001).
Received: 25 February 2018 Revised and accepted: 18 June 2018
DOI: 10.1002/crq.21232
© 2018 Association for Conflict Resolution and Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Conflict Resolution Quarterly. 2018;36:163175. 163

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