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

How Mass Kidnappings of Students Hinder Nigeria’s Future

How Mass Kidnappings of Students Hinder Nigeria’s Future

Thursday, July 8, 2021

By: MaryAnne Iwara

This week’s latest mass kidnapping of Nigerian schoolchildren underscores that the crumbling of human security in Africa’s most populous nation is worsening a deeper impairment, hollowing out Nigeria’s education system to create a “lost generation” of youth across much of the country. Alarmingly, one in five of the world’s out-of-school children is Nigerian. As Nigerian and international policymakers focus on the immediate crises—of kidnappings, Boko Haram’s extremist violence, and conflict between farming and herding communities—they must urgently rescue and buttress the country’s damaged education system. Reducing violence and achieving development in Africa will depend on an effective strategy for doing so.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Human Rights; Youth

How to calm violent crises? Nigeria has an idea.

How to calm violent crises? Nigeria has an idea.

Friday, June 4, 2021

By: Darren Kew

If U.S. and international policymakers hope to see Africa stabilize amid the world’s crises of violence, record human displacement and the COVID pandemic, Nigeria must be center stage. This demographic giant, home to one in five sub-Saharan Africans, now faces a perfect storm of violent conflicts that pose an existential challenge. Yet Nigeria also offers its own solutions for stabilization—including a low-cost innovation worthy of international support: peacebuilding agencies operated by governments in three of the country’s 36 states. This timely model offers localized approaches to the roots of violence and is relevant to nations worldwide.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

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Nigeria’s State Peacebuilding Institutions: Early Success and Continuing Challenges

Nigeria’s State Peacebuilding Institutions: Early Success and Continuing Challenges

Friday, June 4, 2021

By: Darren Kew

Three states in Nigeria's conflict-prone Middle Belt—Plateau, Kaduna, and Adamawa—have established peace institutions in recent years. Although the young agencies have made strides toward organizing improved initiatives to quell religious, ethnic, and farmer-herder conflicts in the region, all three face daunting funding and structural challenges. This report provides recommendations for increasing the agencies’ financial stability and organizational independence, helping them build peace in their own states and serve as a model for other states to launch their own peace institutes.

Type: Special Report

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Nigeria Needs Justice, Not Payoffs, to Build Peace

Nigeria Needs Justice, Not Payoffs, to Build Peace

Thursday, March 18, 2021

By: Oge Onubogu

When gunmen stormed a Nigerian government high school last week, kidnapping dozens of students for ransom, this fourth mass kidnapping in three months underscored that Nigeria’s response so far is not reducing the violence and insecurity spreading across the country’s north. That response has been largely ad hoc, a mix of federal military actions, state officials negotiating with the criminal gangs and, allegedly, the payment of ransoms. A more effective response will require better coordination among federal and state authorities, the inclusion of civil society in a broad strategy, and support from the international community.

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