Truth Commission: Truth and Justice Commission
Duration:  1996 - 1997
Charter: Ministerial Accord No. 012
Commissioners: 7
Report: No report issued


Truth Commission: Truth and Justice Commission (Comisión de Verdad y Justicia)

Dates of Operation: September 1996 - February 1997 (operated for only 5 of its 12-month mandate).

Background: Ecuador returned from military to presidential rule in 1979, but a pattern of human rights abuses continued. The political situation was volatile, and Ecuador had six presidents between 1979 and 1996. Paramilitary groups outside the control of civilian authorities conducted repressive security operations with impunity. Ecuadorian landowners allegedly funded many of the paramilitary groups in an effort to eliminate resistance from farmers angered about stricter land regulations. Many violations of human rights took place under the pretext of eliminating outbreaks of guerrilla activity.

On September 17, 1996, the Ministry of Government and Police established a Truth and Justice Commission to investigate at least 176 cases of human rights abuses in Ecuador over the past seventeen years. After the Congress removed President Abdalá Bucaram from office in February 1997 in response to accusations of corruption and lack of popularity, the Truth and Justice Commission could not be sustained.

Charter: Ministerial Accord No. 012, September 17, 1996, Ministry of Interior and Police

Mandate: The Truth and Justice Commission’s mandate was to investigate and establish the truth about human rights violations that took place between 1979 and 1996, submit evidence to the judiciary, and provide reparations to the victims.

Commissioners and Structure: The commission was composed of seven commissioners: four Ecuadorian and three international.

Report: A report was never published due to the premature end of the commission's work.



  • The commission did not issue an official report because it disbanded in February 1997 without having completed its work. Nevertheless, it collected information on about 300 cases and located unmarked graves of a number of victims.

Subsequent Developments:


  • In May 2007, the Ecuadorian government announced plans for a new truth commission. This new commission, Truth Commission to Impede Impunity, was set up by President Rafael Correa Delgado to investigate, clarify, and impede impunity with respect to human rights abuses perpetrated between 1984 and 1988 and other periods.


Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation. "Justice in Perspective - Truth and Justice Commission, South America - Ecuador." Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation. Available at (accessed June 9, 2008).

Curbelo, Nelsa. Comisión Verdad y Justicia De Ecuador. Ko'Aga Roñe'Eta, 1999. Available at (accessed June 9, 2008).

Hayner, Priscilla B. Unspeakable Truths: Facing the Challenge of Truth Commissions. New York: Routledge, 2002.

Hibbitts, Bernard. "Ecuador Launches Truth Commission to Investigate Past Rights Abuses." Jurist, May 6, 2007, 2007. Available at (accessed June 9, 2008).

Interamerican Commission on Human Rights. Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Ecuador 1997. Available at (accessed July 1, 2008).

Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Ecuador 1997. Available at (accessed July 1, 2008).



Related Publications

Security and Justice in Post-Revolution Libya

Security and Justice in Post-Revolution Libya

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

By: Fiona Mangan; Christina Murtaugh with support from Ferdaouis Bagga

Three years after the death of Muammar Qaddafi and the end of the revolution in Libya, security and justice are stalled and elusive despite the proliferation of security providers. The power of the gun prevails over the rule of law. Many see no end in sight. Based on a nationwide survey and drawn from interviews and focus group sessions, this report—supported by the USIP and the Small Arms Survey—tracks security and justice in Libya from before the revolution through today, its realities, and...

Justice in Transition in Yemen

Justice in Transition in Yemen

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

By: Erica Gaston with Nadwa al-Dawsari

This research is part of a three-year United States Institute of Peace (USIP) project that explores how Yemen’s rule of law and local justice and security issues have been affected in the post-Arab Spring transition period. A complement to other analytical and thematic pieces, this large-scale mapping provides data on factors influencing justice provision in half of Yemen’s governorates. Its goal is to support more responsive programming and justice sector reform. Field research was managed b...

Civil Defense Groups

Civil Defense Groups

Thursday, July 31, 2014

By: Bruce “Ossie” Oswald

More than three hundred defense groups provide security to local communities in states around the world. While it is true that such groups can be a resource-efficient means for states to provide law and order to their communities, it is also true that they can worsen security.

Women's Access to Justice in Afghanistan

Women's Access to Justice in Afghanistan

Thursday, July 17, 2014

By: Erica Gaston; Tim Luccaro

Since the fall of the Taliban in 2002, gains in women’s rights and access to justice in Afghanistan have been remarkable, yet women’s rights remain extremely limited. How do women in Afghanistan seek justice when their rights are violated? What barriers do they face in pursuing justice or receiving a fair outcome? This report draws on interviews and focus group discussions held in Afghanistan in 2011 and 2012 to determine answers to these and related questions and to recommend ways forward. ...


View All Publications