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88 Int'l Rev. Red Cross 295 (2006)
Truth Commissions: A Schematic Overview

handle is hein.journals/intlrcs88 and id is 287 raw text is: 

                               Priscilla B. Hayner
                               Priscilla  B. Hayner is  Director, International Policymakers  Unit, at the  International
                               Center for Transitional Justice in New York

Numerous   truth commissions of different types are being created around the world.
The purpose  of this schematic overview is to study the variety and to sketch out the
differences and similarities between the different truth commissions established since
the Truth and  Reconciliation Commission of South Africa launched in 1995.

Recent years have revealed a remarkable increase in the number  and type of truth
commissions  being  created around the world. Since the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission   of South Africa launched  in 1995, the idea of a non-judicial inquiry
into past widespread abuses has caught the attention of a host of new governments
and  civil society groups in numerous  countries. Truth commissions   -  official,
temporary  bodies established to investigate a pattern of violations over a period
of time that conclude  with a final report and recommendations for   reforms  -
have been  created in more than  thirty countries in the past twenty-five to thirty
        Typically, these bodies are set up for a short period of time - one to three
years on  average -   and  may  employ   hundreds  of staff to collect individual
statements,  organize public  hearings  and  undertake  case  investigations and
thematic  research. Some have  been given subpoena   powers  or the right to gain
access to official offices and official documents without warning. Others have had
to rely on the voluntary cooperation -  not only of high-level officials but also of
direct perpetrators, sometimes  in return for promises  of confidentiality. Truth
commissions  virtually always receive extensive, detailed information from victims,
survivors and  other  witnesses, usually gathering many   thousands  of  detailed
statements. Some  of these may also be presented in public hearings, thus allowing
the public to engage in the process long before the final report is released.


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