The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) came intoplace after 1994, after Apartheid had ended. It was led by Nelson Mandela, withDesmond Tutu as the chairman and Alex Boraine as the co-chairman. The TRC wascreated to allow victims who suffered through apartheid to request amnesty. TheTRC was created so that people who had been affected harshly by apartheid wouldbe allowed to come forward, voice their opinions and be heard.
The TRC wasestablished as a way to bring forgiveness, reconciliation and unity to thepeople who were affected by apartheid. The TRC was created and set up by the Government ofNational Unity to address what happened during apartheid and to help those whohad been harshly treated throughout the apartheid era.The government also noticed many victims who had definitelybeen affected by apartheid and were invited to voice their statements to theTRC and were offered help. Perpetrators were allowed to come forward and admittheir wrong doings. The main aim of the TRC was to encourage national unity andreconciliation. This was achieved through establishing the main causes andissues by allowing victims to voice their thoughts and ideas on how they weretreated during apartheid.
The TRC had multiple aims. Another crucial aim of the TRCwas to hold people accountable for their actions. This was to reveal the truthabout the violations of gross human rights and to help the families and theindividuals who had been harshly affected by apartheid.
The TRC granted amnesty to people who were able to revealfacts relating to unlawful acts or acts of political nature. The TRC allowedindividuals who were victims of apartheid to retell their own accounts of theviolence or wrong-doings they were faced with. After which the TRC granted suchvictims reparations for their suffering. Another aim of the TRC was to collect accounts and reportswhich provided inclusive information on the activities and findings. These suchreports were used as recommendations of measures to prevent any futureviolations of human rights within South Africa.
The TRC was constructed of three main committees, namely,the committee of human rights violations, the amnesty committee and the committeeof reparation and rehabilitation.The role of the Committee of Human Rights Violations was toinspect the abuse of human rights that took place throughout apartheid, basedon statements and information given to the TRC. This committee examined thegross human rights violations such as murder, torture, abduction and severe ill-treatment. The main human right violation that was brought about throughoutapartheid was the carrying of the pass books.
The Reparation and Rehabilitation committee was created topay compensation to the victims. The committee provided support to victims,their families and their communities in order for them to restore theirdignity. This committee was recommended to victims. This committee wasdesignated to help rebuild and heal the pride of the individuals andcommunities affected during apartheid.The Amnesty Committee was the group in which theperpetrators would approach and tell their story to. If the perpetratorapproached this committee, they could apply for amnesty which meant that theywere free from prosecution.
This committee allowed the perpetrators to comeforward and tell the truth. It was a chance for them to confess their wrongdoings and escape punishment. In the TRC there was two types of justice, namely,retributive justice and restorative justice. Retributive justice waspunishment/payment for the actions that an individual took part in. With retributivejustice, individuals would have to serve a jail sentence. However, there weremultiple issues with this type of justice such as the full truth will notemerge, there was no creation of unity and there was no paper trail, whichmeant that there was no actual evidence because no contract was signed as wellas this justice was perpetrator centered. In contrast, restorative justice was chosen over retributivejustice for many reasons, such as it was victim centered, there was nopolitical pardon which means that there was no punishment. Amnesty was offeredto the perpetrators if they gave the full truth, if they were politicallymotivated and if they were in proportional to their crime.
The governmentfollowed Restorative justice as this is where majority of the truth appeared. Throughout the period of the TRC, amnesty was introducedfor majority of the time. Amnesty is the deletion of any offences made by acertain person. The conditions for acquiring amnesty was that the perpetratorhad to give the full truth, they had to be politically motivated and theperpetrator had to be in proportion to their crime, there had to be proportionality.