Editorial: Truth and reconciliation commissions

30 June 2006

Truth and reconciliation commissions have emerged as a major tool in helping a society come to terms with the legacy of its past. They are part of a range of projects designed to reconstruct the social, economic and legal fabric of a society after a conflict or an authoritarian regime. They usually attempt to clarify who the victims are, the truth about what they have suffered and how harm might be addressed and remedied. Whereas the role of courts is to judge the guilt or innocence of the alleged perpetrator, the focus of truth commissions is placed on the victims and their individual experiences.