What is the aim of TRC
The first and general aim of truth commissions is to officially investigate and provide an accurate record/analysis of the broader pattern of abuses committed during repression and civil war.5 Inherent to this investigation is the hearing of victims [ and perpetrators. In that sense a truth commission can also be seen as a non-judicial approach to achieve some form of justice to victims as it
provides a forum for victims (as well as perpetrators) to give evidence of human rights abuses. The subsequent report itself forms a first official acknowledgement of the past human rights abuses these people have suffered.
In most instances, truth commissions are also required by their mandate to provide recommendations on steps to prevent a recurrence of such abuses. Truth Commission’s mandates may also include the aim to facilitate reconciliation (such as the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (1995-8) by means of exchange of information, creating dialogue, mediation by third parties (arbitrage) or even via court procedures. This reconciliation process might also require - as in the case of the East Timor Commission - to facilitate reintegration of minor criminal offenders who submit confessions.6
Additionally, Truth or Truth & Reconciliation Commissions (TRC) can, by means of their report, directly or indirectly contribute to reparations of victims; the financial, medical, social and other consequences of these human rights abuses must, after all, be born by those responsible. ]
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