Truth and Reconciliation Commissions

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.


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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