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 You are in: Special Report: 1998: 10/98: Truth and Reconciliation  
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EDITIONS
Truth and Reconciliation Friday, 30 October, 1998, 09:18 GMT
TRC: The facts
truth commision
Over 21,000 victims of apartheid have given testimony
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was established to investigate crimes committed during the apartheid era in South Africa.

The commission oversees three committees dealing with the following areas:

  • Human rights violations.

  • Reparations.

  • Amnesty.

The 1995 Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, which set up the commission, states that the commission's aims are to investigate and provide "as complete a picture as possible of the nature, causes and extent of gross violations of human rights".

Amnesty may be granted "to those who make full disclosure of all the relevant facts relating to acts associated with a political objective committed in the course of the conflicts of the past".

It is open to perpetrators from both sides of the apartheid divide. Applications have come from police, black militants, right-wing activists and others.

Facts about the commission

  • The commission is concerned with activities that happened in the period from 1 March 1960 until 10 May 1994, the day of President Mandela's inauguration.

  • Chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, hearings began in April 1996.

  • The commission has received over 7,000 applications for amnesty.

  • The TRC has rejected more than 4,500 of these applications, and has so far granted around 125 amnesties.

  • It has heard testimony from over 21,000 victims of apartheid.

The commission completed its work on 31 July 1998, except for ongoing amnesty investigations, which will continue until next June.

The publication of a 3,500 page report of findings in October 1998 marks the culimination of the commission's work.

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