In Search of Truth and Reconciliation

Fact-finding commissions document human rights abuses, provide victims with a forum in which to speak out about the crimes committed against them and help foster a climate of national reconciliation.

In Search of Truth and Reconciliation

Fact-finding commissions document human rights abuses, provide victims with a forum in which to speak out about the crimes committed against them and help foster a climate of national reconciliation.

Fact-finding commissions, also known as truth and reconciliation commissions, can play an important role in international justice. They document human rights abuses, provide victims with a forum in which to speak out about the crimes committed against them, and help foster a climate of national reconciliation. In more than 30 countries, truth commissions have been established as official, temporary, non-judicial fact-finding bodies to investigate a pattern of abuses of human rights, including the crimes, and to establish the truth. Most conclude their work with a final report containing findings of fact and recommendations.

Nevertheless, truth commissions are not a substitute for justice in the form of full and fair prosecutions. Truth commissions are distinct from courts of law and do not normally determine individual criminal accountability, subpoena witnesses or order criminal sanctions. In a number of instances, sweeping amnesties have been granted to perpetrators following the publication of a truth commission report. International law, however, demands that those responsible for grave human rights abuses be brought before a court of law and held criminally responsible.

Fact-finding Commissions Updates
Blog
Given Sudan's dire human rights situation, it is hard to imagine that there is even a question on whether this is needed. But there is at the U.N. Human Rights Council.
Press Release
World leaders at the Geneva II peace conference on Syria must demand full access to investigate allegations that 11,000 people have been tortured and killed while in detention in the country.
Report
Iran has the status of being the world's last official executioner of children. Amnesty International is publishing this report...
Fact-finding Commissions Issues