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El Salvador
The Commission on Truth for El Salvador (La Comisión de la Verdad de El Salvador) (1992 to 1993)


Final Report: From Madness to Hope: the 12-year war in El Salvador:
Report of the Commission on the Truth for El Salvador

How the Commission was created: United Nations moderated peace accord.  Mexico Peace Agreements (Articles 2, 5), Mexico City, 27 April 1991


Mandate of TRC: To document past human rights violations and propose binding reform measures 


Type of Human Rights Abuses Investigated: Covered most "serious acts of violence" whose "impact on society urgently demands that the public should know the truth"

Period Investigated 1980-1991

Geographic Area Investigated: Aimed to cover all regions, limited access

Legal powers of investigation: No subpoena and no judicial powers, but binding recommendations

Access to state-military files and other sources of info: Full access according to mandate

Number & Nationality of commissioners: Three all foreigners (2 Latin and 1 American)

Budget: $7,400,000 USD

Perpetrators of the conflict: State armed forces and guerilla forces to a lesser extent

Number of victims/perpetrators: 7,000 victims and perpetrators combined 

Number of cases presented to Commission: 22,000 testimonies presented, 32 investigated and included in report

Number of public hearings: None

Naming names: Yes 

Reparations offered: Duty of Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), and obligation of the state dependent on financial ability of the country. Commission recommended that a special fund be established, as an autonomous body with legal and administrative powers, to award material compensation to victims. Also recommended several measures aimed as symbolic reparations such as the construction of a memorial, recognition of the good name of the victims, and the institution of a national holiday. Hassle for individuals to wait in line and fill out forms for reparations, element of fear, many upset about the level of reparations afforded to the army.

Follow-up activities after Commission: No

Compiled from:
Justice: The First Casualty of Truth. Brody, Reed. The Nation, 30 April 2001.


Las Comiciones de Verdad en America Latina. Cyua, Esteban. Derechos Human Rights, KO'AGA ROÑE'ETA, Series III.


Rights, Reparations and Reconciliation: Some Comparative Notes. Edelstein, Jayni. Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, Seminar No. 6, 1994.  


Strategic Choices in the Design of Truth Commissions. European Centre for Common Ground & Program on Negotiation, 2002. 


Truth Commissions: A Comparative Assessment. Interdisciplinary Discussion. Harvard Law School, 1996. 


Truth Commissions Digital Collection. Jeannette Rankin Library Program & The United States Institute for Peace, 23 April 2004.


Truth Commissions: An Uncertain Path? Cuevas Espinoza, Victor; Ortiz Rojas, Maria Luisa; & Rojas Baeza, Paz.Corporacion de Promocion y Defensa de los Derechos del Pueblo & Association for the Prevention of Torture, 2002.


"Truth Commissions, Transitional Justice, and Civil Society." Crocker, David A.Forthcoming in Robert I. Rotberg and Dennis Thompson, eds. Truth v. Justice: The Moral Efficacy of Truth Commissions: South Africa and Beyond (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press) 


Truth Commissions and Transitional Justice: A Short Guide. Bronkhorst, Daan. September 2003.