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Sierra Leone
Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2002-2004)

Final Report: Released

Child-Friendly Version: Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report for the Children of Sierra Leone, 2004 (PDF, 62 pages)

How the Commission was created: Mandated through Lomé Peace Agreement and enacted through the Truth and Reconciliation Act 2000.

Mandate of TRC: To create an impartial historical record of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, address impunity, respond to the needs of the victims, promote healing and reconciliation, and prevent recurrence of the violations and abuses.

Type of Human Rights Abuses Investigated: Covered violations of human rights and international humanitarian law

Period Investigated: 1991 to 1999

Geographic Area Investigated: Covered all regions

Legal powers of investigation: Subpoena

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

Number & Nationality of commissioners: Seven mixed national and foreign (four nationals and three foreigners)

Budget: $4,500,000 USD

Perpetrators of the conflict: Revolutionary United Front (RUF), Republic of Sierra Leone Military Forces, National Reformation Council, Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Monitoring Group (ECOMOG), Civil Defense Forces (CDF), and outside actors (i.e. Charles Taylor)

Number of victims: 75,000 estimated victims

Number of cases presented to Commission: 9,500 individual statements were taken, 450 cases presented at hearings.

Number of public hearings: 28 public hearings, 2 hearings in 14 different districts, 450 witnesses testified at public hearings, a high number of these accounts were from perpetrators. Divided into four types: thematic hearings, event-specific hearings, individual witness hearings, and institutional hearings.

Naming names: Yes (with special protections afforded to women and children)

Reparations offered: Final report not yet released

Follow-up activities after Commission: Yes (upon publication of the final report, a national Human Rights Commission is to be created to monitor and facilitate the implementation of the recommendations made by the commission)

Compiled from:
Interview with Franlyn B. Kargbo, Former Secretary of the TRC, May 13, 2004

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

The Lome Peace Accord 22 July 1999. 

Sierra Leone's Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Special Court: a Citizen's Handbook. James-Allen, Paul; Lahai, Sheku B.S.; & O’Connell, Jamie. National Forum for Human Rights and the International Center for Transitional Justice, 2003.

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

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

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

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act 2000, 2000.