The United States Institute of Peace’s Truth Commissions Digital Collection is part of the Margarita S. Studemeister Digital Library in International Conflict Management.  The collection contains profiles of truth commissions and substantive bodies of inquiry from nations worldwide - offering general background information on the composition of each body, links to the official legislative texts establishing such commissions, and each commission's final reports and findings.

Truth Commission Digital Collection
Photo courtesy of NY Times

The United States Institute of Peace’s Truth Commissions Digital Collection is part of the Margarita S. Studemeister Digital Library in International Conflict Management

The collection contains profiles of truth commissions and substantive bodies of inquiry from nations worldwide - offering general background information on the composition of each body, links to the official legislative texts establishing such commissions, and each commission's final reports and findings.

Truth Commissions

Germany 1995 Rwanda 1999 Honduras 2010
Argentina Ghana Serbia & Montenegro
Bolivia Guatemala Sierra Leone
Chad Haiti Solomon Islands
Chile 1990 Kenya South Africa
Democratic Republic of Congo Liberia South Korea 2000
Ecuador 1996 Morocco South Korea 2005
Ecuador 2007 Nigeria Timor-Leste (East Timor)
El Salvador Panama Uganda 1974
Germany 1992

Paraguay

Uganda 1986

Peru 2001 Mauritius Uruguay  

Commissions of Inquiry

Algeria Brazil Burundi

Ethiopia (Special Prosecutor's Office)

Chile 2003 Nepal 1990 Sri Lanka Honduras 93
Cote d'Ivoire Peru 1986 Zimbabwe
Rwanda 1993

 

You can also use the Truth Commission Digital Collection filter to search for the truth commissions and commissions of inquiry you are most interested in.


About Truth Commissions

Truth commissions are established to research and report on abuses of human rights and humanitarian law over a particular period of time in a specific country, or in relation to a particular conflict. Truth commissions are diverse and their mandates are often adapted to the specific needs of the society. Typically they are convened temporarily in order to allow victims, their relatives and perpetrators to give evidence of human rights abuses or other criminal transgressions - providing an official forum for their accounts. In most instances, truth commissions are also required to provide recommendations on steps to prevent a recurrence of past abuses. They are created, vested with authority, sponsored, and/or funded by the government of the country.

Truth commissions are non-judicial bodies, but in some cases are granted the ability to refer case information to the courts or tribunals. Generally, the recommendations of a commission push for reforms within the government and other social structures that perpetuated abuse.  Recommendations may also advocate for reparation to victims, propose memorialization efforts and reconciliation plans, and implicate the bodies or groups most responsible for any abuses committed. In some cases individual perpetrators may be named. In some instances, commissions have been forced to end their mandates prematurely due to political opposition or lack of funding.

About Commissions of Inquiry

Closely related to truth commissions are commissions of inquiry. Compared to truth commissions, commissions of inquiry have a more limited scope. Their investigations may for instance be limited to specific events, or specific geographic areas of a country.

In addition, the Truth Commissions Digital Collection portrays a number of investigative bodies organized not by governments, but by civil society or by international organizations. We have included a number of such unofficial truth-seeking bodies as commissions of inquiry.

How to Find a Truth Commission

The Truth Commission Digital Collection Filter allows you to search for the truth commissions and commissions of inquiry you are most interested in. If you select ‘Truth Commission’ from the menu of publication types, the website will show the full list of commissions included in the collection in reverse-chronological order, along with a brief overview of their mandate.  You may also navigate directly to the country of your choosing above.

Related Publications

Amid Nigeria’s Violence, a Local Peace Process Advances

Amid Nigeria’s Violence, a Local Peace Process Advances

Thursday, February 10, 2022

By: Matthew Reitman;  Terfa Hemen

Next week opens a high-stakes season of risk for Africa’s demographic giant, Nigeria: the one-year countdown to a presidential election to be held amid the upheavals that have killed or displaced hundreds of thousands of people over the past decade. Nigeria’s escalated regional and local conflicts risk fueling a similar escalation in the country’s pattern of election-related violence. But hope for reducing this combined risk is visible in the work of still-young peacebuilding agencies established by several of Nigeria’s state governments. In one region, these agencies have achieved a peace accord to halt a communal conflict that burned down villages and uprooted thousands of people.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

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It’s Time to End ‘Business as Usual’ With Nigeria

It’s Time to End ‘Business as Usual’ With Nigeria

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

By: Oge Onubogu

Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit this week to Nigeria is timely, for Africa’s demographic giant is shuddering with its most dangerous instability in 50 years: insurgencies, uncontrolled criminality and constrictions of freedom of expression. Nigeria is failing to fulfill basic tasks of a nation-state, and its partners need to halt “business as usual” to open an honest dialogue about the current failings. For the United States, this means dropping some old practices in the way America engages Nigerians. U.S. engagements must center more on Nigeria’s citizenry, notably the 70 percent who are younger than 35, and with Nigeria’s 36 disparate states. 

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Six Alternative Ways to Measure Peace in Nigeria

Six Alternative Ways to Measure Peace in Nigeria

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

By: Yagana Bukar;  Chris Kwaja;  Aly Verjee

When measured by the death toll, Nigeria seems beset by violence. By some accounts, the COVID-19 pandemic has made experiences of violence even more common — notably, Nigeria recorded a 169% increase in abductions between 2019 and 2020. While quantifying violence is relatively straightforward, defining what peace means to ordinary Nigerians has been largely overlooked, even if such definitions may be more meaningful. By exploring more nuanced understandings of peace, how these vary between and across communities, and finding which indicators of peace are most valued, peace might be better pursued. We went in search of how people in the states of Bauchi, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Plateau define peace. Here are six of our most important findings.

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