Recovering From Violent Pasts: Truth and Reconciliation in Liberia and Sierra Leone

Thea Ribergaard Askhøj Nielsen & Tobias Gandrup

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


This project aims at analysing how the concepts of truth, justice and reconciliation are deployed in post-conflict societies through Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRCs). As a part of their respective peace agreements at the end of their civil wars, Sierra Leone and Liberia have each established a TRC with the similar official purposes of uncovering past atrocities and reconciling their populations. Therefore, we conducted a comparative analysis of the Liberian and Sierra Leonean TRCs, which showed that the formations of the TRCs in Liberia and Sierra Leone played out in similar manners. However, the two TRC’s addressed justice in different ways, partially due to the context of other transitional justice mechanisms present in the two countries. Moreover, the project found that the working processes of the commissions did not produce objective truths about past violent conflicts, while reconciliation had different meanings, as seen observed in public hearings held by the TRCs. Furthermore, the project found that the recommendations of the two TRCs were politicised and contested, which questions the ability of the TRCs to promote reconciliation on a national level. The main finding of the project is that the concept of truth, justice and reconciliation play out differently in the cases of the two TRCs due to their national contexts, although they have similar objectives and were established in two post-conflict societies with similar conflict trajectories.

UddannelserGlobal Studies, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Bachelor el. kandidat
Udgivelsesdato27 maj 2013
VejledereTobias Hagmann


  • Truth and Reconciliation Commissions
  • Truth, Justice, Reconciliation