The Perpetrator as Citizen: Self-identification from National Hero to Victimised Subject
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Whereas research on post-conflict societies has traditionally focused on victims and the efforts made in society to achieve justice and reconciliation, the other side of the story, the side of the perpetrators, has been neglected. This thesis focuses on low-level perpetrators of mass violence in Argentina and Rwanda in their respective post conflict-societies. Using interviews, media-appearances and biographies, this thesis analyses how perpetrators present themselves in the post-conflict society. This comparative study demonstrates that, even though the respective conflicts and societies are vastly different, the ways in which perpetrators identify and legitimise themselves follow a similar strategy, ranging from national hero to victimised subject. Through these strategies, the perpetrators present themselves as citizens who belong in society, whether it is by the rules of the old, or by the rules of the new regime, community and idea of citizenship.