African countries have a wealth of experience in implementing truth commissions and adapting them to their national contexts, spanning several decades. As noted in the 2019 African Union Transitional Justice Policy, truth commissions are an indicative element of transitional justice. They are “legal bodies established to examine and address violations and abuses. They also serve to establish a full historical record of such violations, including the various experiences of different groups such as women, children and youth, the identity of the victims and perpetrators, as well as the role of various State and non-State institutions, and to provide for measures of reconciliation and healing.”
For each truth commission, when available, this database includes the commission’s mandate, method and year of establishment, period active and final report. It also includes the conflict period as defined in the mandate and the peace agreement that gave rise to the commission. The database was updated in 2023.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Sierra Leone (2000-2004) was tasked with investigating violations and abuses of human rights from the 1991 armed conflict until the signing of the Lomé Peace Agreement in 1999. The commission aimed to investigate key events during that period and patterns of human rights violations while restoring dignity to victims of the abuses by conducting private interviews. Additionally, the commissioners were to have access to all necessary resources that they could need for the process. The mandate specifically notes that children and victims of sexual abuse would be given special attention in the process. The commission was tasked with producing a report to the president with legal, political and general recommendations to assist the country in addressing past abuses and preventing future human rights violations, which it submitted to the president of Sierra Leone in 2004.