Thu, May 30, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Subjects to read their secret files

UNCOVERING THE TRUTH:The Transitional Justice Commission said that it aims to correct the information in the documents by inviting those surveilled to read them

By Chen Yu-fu and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A scene from a nine-minute documentary made by the Transitional Justice Commission showing people who were prosecuted during the Martial Law era reading the files that had been kept on them.

Photo: Copy by Chen Yu-fu, Taipei Times

The Transitional Justice Commission yesterday said that it is to launch a project this year to invite people who were once monitored by the government’s intelligence agencies to access files that were kept on them.

Informants would also be invited to read the declassified files, said the commission, which was established one year ago, tomorrow.

The project’s purpose is to correct the information in the documents, the commission said.

Those who were surveilled, and possibly even the informants, would be invited to share their opinions on the information in the documents, it said.

The commission would facilitate the continued research and comparison of the narratives to increase understanding of historical truths, it said, adding that the project would also help prepare for when the documents are made available to the public.

The commission is to release a video, titled Informer (告密者), on the subject on Saturday.

Since its establishment, the commission has been negotiating with various agencies in the hopes of speeding up the transfer and declassification of the documents, the commission said.

This unearthing of large volumes of surveillance-type documents is beneficial in understanding the workings of the authoritarian system, it said.

The commission has already exposed aspects of the workings of the surveillance system, and would gradually release its research to the public, it said.

It is not enough to rely on documents to uncover the truth, the commission said.

Other countries’ experiences with transitional justice show that surveillance files could contain incorrect information — or even biases, exaggeration and other problems — recorded by intelligence agents or informants, making it difficult to judge history solely based on the information in the documents, it said.

Using the documents as a foundation, it would gradually uncover the truth, and begin discussions about holding perpetrators accountable, while encouraging society to engage in reflection and introspection, the commission said.

These goals would serve as an important foundation for the summary report it is required, under the Act on Promoting Transitional Justice (促進轉型正義條例), to submit to the premier within two years of its establishment, with the possibility of extensions, the commission added.

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