"South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission - Its Impact on the Ongoing Transformation of the Society"

with Mary Burton,
Member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for South Africa


Tuesday, November 12th, 2002

12 pm - 1:30 pm

Room 101, WCL

4801 Massachusetts Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20016

Ms. Burton discussed her experiences and lessons learned from her work as a member of the SA Truth and Reconciliation Commission and with Home to All (an organization that is seeking to promote reconciliation in South Africa). Created by the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act of 1995, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), was part of the political compromises made during the negotiations that ended apartheid. The TRC was charged with investigating politically motivated gross human rights violations committed between 1960 and 1994. The intent was to prevent such atrocities from reoccurring and to begin to heal a divided nation scarred by past conflicts. South Africa’s TRC was the first truth commission to offer amnesty to individuals who fully disclosed in public their involvement in crimes that were deemed to be politically motivated. In doing so, the democratic government embraced the legal principle of “restorative justice” instead of the “retributive justice” embodied by a Nuremberg-style trial.


The International Legal Studies Program

The Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

The International Legal Studies Program LLM Board