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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The trials and tribulations of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Author:Sarkin, JeremyISNI
Periodical:South African Journal on Human Rights
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:offences against human rights
commissions of inquiry
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/02587203.1996.11834930
Abstract:Where power transfers occur through negotiation, a truth commission has been seen as the appropriate mechanism for dealing with past human rights violations. South Africa is following this course. This article reviews the process of setting up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and then examines the various court cases, including the Constitutional Court decision on the constitutionality of civil and criminal amnesty, as well as other challenges that have impacted on the work of the commission. These challenges include a failure to publicise the Commission's mission, concerns about the capacity of the Commission to obtain 'the' truth, its ability to facilitate national unity and reconciliation, and the Commission's high costs and salaries, which could impact on the funds available for reparations to victims. The Commission's investigation unit has also been beset with enormous problems, including a go-slow by some members seconded to it who were aggrieved by differentiated pay. The Commission further continues to attract criticism from both victims and alleged perpetrators and has suffered from the delay in the work of the Amnesty Commission forced upon it by the application to the Constitutional Court. Notes, ref.