Source: (2003) Melbourne University Law Review. 27: 334-380.

The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission is one of the most talked about, innovative, but also highly controversial mechanisms used by a state 'in transition' to provide a form of accountability for its past perpetrators of human rights abuses. This article will, from the perspective of the victims of repression, critically analyse the benefits and drawbacks of the TRCs three primary processes- the amnesty hearings, the victims' hearing and formulation of its policies on rehabilitation and reparation. This analysis provides some important lessons and recommendations for how the establishment and implementation of future truth commissions can maximise the benefits to those who have so often been forgotten in past attempts to establish accountability mechanisms- namely the victims and survivors of gross violations of human rights. (author's abstract).