A South African-style truth and reconciliation commission may not work in NI, Archbishop Desmond Tutu has said.
Archbishop Tutu at Queen's Unversity in Belfast
The 1990s forum brought together victims and perpetrators of apartheid violence and helped heal bitter wounds.
The Nobel Peace prize winner was in NI on Tuesday to receive an honorary degree at Queen's University.
Tutu, who headed South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, said "one size wouldn't fit all".
"Each country and situation are unique and it is up to the people involved to decide," he added.
Last week, an independent body was set up in NI to examine how to deal with 3,000 unsolved murders which were part of the country's 'Troubles'.
Archbishop Tutu also visited Dublin for talks with the Irish government on aid programmes in Africa and the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.