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.

South Africa

South Africa

Truth and Reconciliation Commission

The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (1995-2002) was mandated to investigate gross human rights violations committed during apartheid from 1960 to 1994. According to its founding legislation, the commission’s objectives included establishing as complete a picture as possible of the causes, nature and extent of the violations; facilitating the granting of amnesty to persons who made full disclosure of all the relevant facts relating to acts associated with a political objective; establishing and making known the fate or whereabouts of victims and restoring the human and civil dignity of those victims by granting them an opportunity to relate their own accounts of the violations they experienced and by recommending reparation measures; and compiling a report with as comprehensive an account as possible of the activities and findings of the commission, including recommendations of measures to prevent future violations of human rights.

Established Conflict Period
Mandate Final Report Peace Agreement
1995, by legislation 1948-1993 Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act 34 of 1995 Final Report Vol. 1; Vol. 2; Vol. 3; Vol. 4; Vol. 5 1991 National Peace Accord
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