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

North Korea and China: The Endgame Behind the Headlines

North Korea and China: The Endgame Behind the Headlines

Friday, April 20, 2018

By: Fred Strasser

In the fast-moving diplomacy over North Korea’s nuclear program, the long-term interests of the country’s powerful neighbor China don’t make headlines. Yet behind China’s tactical moves such as President Xi Jinping’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last month lie strategic questions about what China—vital to any resolution of the North Korea nuclear issue—envisions as a satisfactory end state for the Korean Peninsula.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Global Policy

What is Next for U.S.-Turkey Relations?

What is Next for U.S.-Turkey Relations?

Friday, April 20, 2018

By: Eric S. Edelman

Relations between the United States and Turkey have come under increasing strain in the past two years over the U.S. role in Syria and Ankara’s strengthening ties with Russia. American support for Kurdish forces battling ISIS has angered Turkey, which sees the cooperation as bolstering Kurdish nationalist elements inside its borders. USIP Board member Eric Edelman, a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey during the George W. Bush administration, and USIP International Advisory Council member Jake Sullivan, who served as Vice President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, provide some insight on the state of Turkish-American relations.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Osama Gharizi on U.S. Objectives in Syria

Osama Gharizi on U.S. Objectives in Syria

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

By: Osama Gharizi

From Lebanon, Osama Gharizi shares his analysis about the clarity of U.S. objectives after retaliatory missile strikes targeting the Assad regime’s suspected chemical weapons facilities. Gharizi says these strikes sent a signal to Assad and his allies that there are limits to U.S. and coalition intervention in Syria. In turn, these limits strengthen Russia, Turkey, and Iran’s roles as the diplomatic arbiters to negotiate a peace deal. Separately, Gharizi addresses the risks associated with the suggestion of setting up an Arab force in Syria that could create further obscurity in terms of U.S. intent and objectives versus those of Arab countries forming such a force.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Civilian-Military Relations

View All Publications