After one year of inventory by government agencies, the Transitional Justice Commission assumes that more effort must be made to uncover historic facts and allow for reconciliation.
A year after the promulgation of the Political Archives Act (政治檔案法), a vast number of files dating back to the White Terror era remain classified, the Transitional Justice Commission said yesterday, adding that it is working with the National Archives Administration (NAA) to supervise efforts by government agencies to search their archives for any documents that still have not been transferred.
The legislation requires all government agencies to inventory their classified files that date back to the era between 1949 and 1987, to facilitate historical studies allowing for reconciliation between perpetrators and victims, the commission said in a statement to commemorate the first anniversary of the act’s promulgation.
Thanks to the act, the commission was able to shed more light on the death of Carnegie Mellon University associate processor Chen Wen-cheng (陳文成) and the killing of three of democracy activist Lin I-hsiung’s (林義雄) family members, the commission said.
Through the new findings, the commission was able to better understand the roles of intelligence organs under the authoritarian state and how deeply they were involved in the cases, it said.
However, the commission has found that crucial files on the two unsolved cases have been contaminated and that further searches of the missing pieces are desperately needed, it said.
New findings surfaced every time the commission ordered an agency to step up efforts to search its archives for political files, indicating that the amount of files that have not been discovered is “incalculable,” the commission said.
Per instructions from the Executive Yuan, the commission and the NAA have focused their efforts on visiting and investigating “key agencies,” including the Ministry of National Defense, the National Security Bureau, the National Police Agency and the Investigation Bureau, it said.
The defense ministry, in particular, holds more than 1 million pages of files compiled during military court hearings, it said.
Only when all agencies involved inventory the classified political files and transfer them to the commission, can history be put into perspective and democratic values be consolidated, the commission added.
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