In 2003, President Michelle Bachelet, who at that time was Chile’s Defense Secretary (2002-4), told a foreign newspaper of her hopes that the military’s pacts of silence would be broken. Breaking the walls of military silence was essential for the victims and families of the Chilean military junta to finally leave behind a painful past.2 Bachelet’s call for the military to disclose information came 30 years after a bloody coup d’état overthrew socialist President Salvador Allende, thus inaugurating a long regime of terror under the command of General Augusto Pinochet (1973-90). Her pleas were also made after a decade of investigation by the Chilean Truth Commission (known as the Rettig Commission) when thousands of victims and survivors loaded with criminal evidence – that they themselves had collected over the long years of General Pinochet’s regime – responded and mobilized to testify before the commission.3 To confront past crimes against humanity, truth and reconciliation commissions were set up in Latin America, in the aftermath of state violence and genocide in Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Guatemala, with the backing of the United States. These ad hoc commissions of inquiry are often praised as one of the most important transitional justice tools available for post-conflict or authoritarian societies.4 They offer, the claim goes, a vehicle that a violence-ridden society needs in order to deal with a haunting past, where a political compromise can be achieved amongst contending forces. On the one hand, there are victims’ groups who demand truth, memory, and justice, while on the other hand, there are those implicated in crimes who claim to have followed orders to serve the country and thus oppose any form of criminal accountability. Another claim made on behalf of truth commissions’ investigations is that they have the capacity to construct a historical “truth.” But this claim is not entirely supported and serves as fodder for a growing disagreement among scholars. E. Daly has noted for example that,

Perhaps the biggest problem with the truth is not that there are too many truths but rather that there is not enough truth. Often the truth that victims and others most want to hear is not the forensic truth, nor the historical or dialogic truth, but the psychological truth. Why did the perpetrators do this?5