The Truth and Reconciliation Commission and traditional methods of reconciliation in Sierra Leone
AuthorTaylor-Smith, Rodmire N.
The Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) originated from the Lomé Peace Agreement, signed on 7 July 1999. The agreement provided for a cessation of hostilities and the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of combatants. The TRC was a vital part of a strategy for making the country’s fragile peace permanent. Since the Lomé Accord gave all combatants in Sierra Leone's war a blanket amnesty, the TRC was intended to provide an alternative form of accountability. The TRC Act calls on the Commission to undertake research, receive statements from victims and witnesses, and hold public sessions with the aim of establishing an impartial historical record of violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law related to the armed conflict in Sierra Leone, from the beginning of the Conflict in 1991 to the signing of the Lomé Peace Agreement. The Act also calls to address impunity, respond to the needs of the victims, promote healing and reconciliation and to prevent a repetition of the violations and abuses suffered. Most importantly, the TRC Act also stated that the TRC should be able to facilitate victim-offender mediation in cases where the victims welcomed it. In this thesis, I will discuss the Sierra Leone TRC and how it was influenced by traditional methods of reconciliation. We must note that the most important day to day exercise of restorative justice is to be found in the work of rural or local communities. In Sierra Leone, these communities were worst hit during the war as compared to the capital, Freetown. One of the questions which my study aims to answer is if the formal TRC system or methods of mediation were preferable to or more useful than the traditional/ritual methods of reconciliation in Sierra Leone.
PublisherUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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Copyright 2009 The Author(s)
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