City Research Online

Delaying truth recovery for missing persons

Kovras, I. & Loizides, N. (2011). Delaying truth recovery for missing persons. Nations and Nationalism, 17(3), pp. 520-539. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8129.2009.00437.x


The fate of missing persons is a central issue in post-conflict societies facing truth recovery and human rights dilemmas. Despite widespread public sympathy towards relatives, societies emerging from conflict often defer the recovery of missing for decades. More paradoxically, in post-1974 Cyprus, the official authorities delayed unilateral exhumations of victims buried within cemeteries in their own jurisdiction. Analysis of official post-1974 discourses reveals a Greek-Cypriot consensus to emphasise the issue as one of Turkish aggression, thus downplaying in-group responsibilities and the legacy of intra-communal violence. We compare the experience of Cyprus with other post-conflict societies such as Spain, Northern Ireland, and Mozambique and explore the linkages between institutions and beliefs about transitional justice. We argue that elite consensus initiates and facilitates the transition to democracy but often leads to the institutionalisation of groups opposing truth recovery even for in-group members.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: KOVRAS, I. and LOIZIDES, N. (2011), Delaying truth recovery for missing persons. Nations and Nationalism, 17: 520–539., which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Publisher Keywords: Elite Framing; Truth Recovery; Missing Persons; Spoilers; Political Learning; Cyprus
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
K Law > K Law (General)
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
SWORD Depositor:
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