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Truth and reconciliation commissions, often called truth commissions or commissions of inquiry, are official, nonjudicial bodies of a limited duration established to determine the facts, causes, and consequences of past human rights violations in a specific country over a specific period of time. Although some aim to “reconcile” past enemies, they are primarily concerned with exposing the truth as a means to address grievances rather than exacting justice. Although they have emerged as a way to handle transitional justice in postconflict situations, there is still little agreement on their efficacy.

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Since the 1970s, over 40 truth commissions have been established, covering every continent in the world. These commissions are a relatively new phenomenon, with the first described as such in 1974 in Uganda. The Commission of ...

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