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Friday, July 31, 1998 Published at 17:15 GMT 18:15 UK


World: Africa

Truth Commission ends

Charirman Tutu has been criticised by whites and blacks

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa has ended its two year investigation into the human rights record of the apartheid era.


The BBC's Greg Barrow: 'South Africans feel more divided than ever'
The commission was established under the chairmanship of Archbishop Desmond Tutu to promote national reconciliation through the revelation of truth about South Africa's past.

The South African Justice Minister, Dullah Omar, said the commission had been a monumental achievement that had contributed to international thinking on how human rights violations could be resolved.

Commission attacked


Archbishop Tutu says he is happy with the TRC's work
But in recent days it has been assailed by criticism, particularly from South Africa's white right-wing politicians.

They see the commission as an organisation bent on pursuing white politicians while ignoring crimes committed by black anti-apartheid activists.

They argue that little attention has been paid to crimes carried out by blacks, such as the ritual necklacing of police informers in South African townships.

Archbishop Tutu has reacted by accusing some right wing politicians of showing weakness in their inability to cope with revelations about the role of the white government in the last years of apartheid.

Calls for compensation

But the archbishop has also been criticised by blacks who are demanding compensation for victims of apartheid and their families.


Black activist Steve Biko's son, Gosnati, says he is disappointed
They say that while the Commission has been quick to grant amnesty to the perpetrators of human rights abuses, it has been slow in giving compensation.

Our correspondent says this problem threatens to overshadow the good work of the past two and a half years.

Later this year the commission will present a report to President Nelson Mandela outlining its findings.

It also has until next June to conclude its amnesty hearings.



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