University of Minnesota

David Weissbrodt, Joan Fitzpatrick, and Frank Newman
, International Human Rights—Law, Policy, and Process (3d ed. 2001).

Supplement to Chapter 9: International Human Rights Fact-Finding (November 2003)


Section C.1.    Update on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)


Congo-Brazzaville, mentioned in line 2 of the section as a neighbor of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), is known as the Republic of the Congo, or the Congo.[1] 


Since publication of the third edition of the Coursebook, the DRC has continued to suffer from the instability that has characterized the post-Mobutu period.[2]  Peace plans initiated by the Organization of African Unity[3] (OAU), and supported by the United Nations, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the European Union (EU), resulted in the withdrawal of foreign troops (primarily Rwandan, Ugandan, and Zimbabwean) from the DRC by the end of 2002.[4]   In the period following these agreements, several areas of the DRC remained outside the effective control of the central government of President Joseph Kabila. 


Significant areas of the DRC remained in the control of groups formerly supported by the regional powers.  Fighting in those areas continued and sometimes escalated, resulting in serious human rights violations and humanitarian crises.  Excluding the central government, the major DRC-based armed groups involved in these conflicts were:



The Lusaka Accords Process           

The 1999 Lusaka Accords created a negotiating forum called the “Inter-Congolese Dialogue” (ICD), which involved representatives of the three major actors: the central Kabila government, the MLC, and the RCD, as well as representatives of civil society, non-armed political parties, and the various regional governments with interests in the DRC.  In April 2003, the ICD agreed upon a two-year transitional power-sharing government with democratic elections to be held in 2005.   The MLC and the RCD now officially function as political parties and participate in the existing democratic institutions.  The heads of the former rebel movements reside in the capital, Kinshasa, and form part of the central government.  The country, however, remains divided into zones of influence and the integration of the various armed forces into a single national army has yet to take place.  The regional governments that existed before the agreement remain in place, maintaining the power bases of the three major actors.  Since the establishment of the transitional government the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) has received reports of human rights abuses in areas of the former RCD-controlled East, where the influence of the RCD has decreased and the central transitional government has yet to become effective.   The situation in the northeast Ituri province reflects a similar problem.

The Crisis in Bunia

The withdrawal of most of the Ugandan army intensified conflict between ethnic groups in the northeast Ituri province as they vied for control of the resource-rich region. In late 2002 and early 2003, the town of Bunia became a focal point for conflict between the Hema and Lendu ethnic groups resulting in a humanitarian crisis. In early May 2003, hundreds of civilians were reported to have been killed in Bunia. [7]  For more detailed information on the conflict in Ituri province as well as its human rights and humanitarian consequences, see Amnesty International, Democratic Republic of Congo: On the precipice: the deepening human rights and humanitarian crisis in Ituri, Amnesty International, (2003), available at <> (last visited September 6, 2003). See also, Human Rights Watch, Covered in Blood: Ethnically Targeted Violence in Northern DRC, Human Rights Watch (2003) available at <> (last visited September 6, 2003)

On May 30, 2003, in response to the crisis, the UN Security Council authorized an Interim Emergency Multinational Force (IEMF) for Bunia pursuant to a Chapter VII mandate.[8]  The force was deployed to provide a presence in the area until the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC)[9] could be fully deployed in the Ituri province.  The IEMF’s authorization to operate expired on September 1, 2003, and MONUC became the official international presence in the province.   Recent Amnesty International reports suggest that while the situation in Bunia has calmed down, the rest of Ituri province remains in intense conflict.[10]

The Role of the United Nations

Security Council Resolution 1493, passed in July 2003, extended MONUC’s mandate until July 2004.[11]  The resolution imposes an arms embargo on all combatants within the DRC, excluding the government and UN forces.  The resolution expands the geographic scope and increases the range of responsibilities of the UN presence in the DRC, especially in the Ituri province, and prepares the ground for withdrawal of the Interim Emergency Multinational Force (IEMF).


MONUC’s website is available at <> (last visited September 6, 2003). It contains links to UN documents and reports on the mission as well as links to all related Security Council resolutions and reports of the Secretary-General. It also contains a link to the Report of the Security Council mission to Central Africa, 7 to 16 June 2003, available at <> (last visited September 6, 2003). 


On September 2, 2003, the IEMF formally handed control of Bunia to MONUC, which has begun patrols outside Bunia into wider areas of the Ituri province. [12]  For up to date news and detailed information on MONUC’s mission see the local web page, available at <> (last visited September 6, 2003)

The DRC Central Government of Joseph Kabila

            The DRC’s central Joseph Kabila government was not a passive actor in the conflict, nor did it significantly improve on the human rights record of the former Laurent Kabila administration.  The government supported factions of the RCD in the conflict in the east.[13]  The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights received many reports of human rights violations by the government and others affiliated with the government within the territory it controlled.  In the period up to April 2003, there were reports of arbitrary detention, extra-judicial killings, restrictions on freedom of expression, and harassment of human rights defenders.[14]  With the new transitional government taking shape, the future of human rights policy in the DRC remains uncertain.


Section C.2. Fact-finding in the Congo


The most recent report from the field presence of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is the second quarterly report for 2003, which covers the period from February to April. It is available in French at <> (last visited September 6, 2003). All Quarterly reports on the field presence of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, including the mission to the Congo are available at <> (last visited September 6, 2003).


The head of the UN Human Rights Field Presence in the Congo is now Mr. Mahamane Cissé-Gouro.  The Commission on Human Rights’ Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Congo is Ms. Iulia-Antoanella Motoc, who has been in that position since 2001.  


The Security Council missions to the DRC


The Security Council has sent several missions to the DRC to monitor the progress of MONUC’s mandate. The reports are all available on the MONUC website at <> (last visited September 6, 2003). There were four missions: in May 2000, May 2001, May 2002, and June 2003.

The most recent mission included representatives from Angola, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Chile, China, France, Germany, Guinea, Mexico, Pakistan, the Russian Federation, Spain, Syria, the United Kingdom, and the United States.  The mission met with the leaders of states involved in the conflict, representatives of the RCD, and representatives of the MLC.  The mission visited Bunia and consulted with the head of the Interim Emergency Multinational Force (IEMF) and with members of the transitional administration of the DRC.  They noted the concern of many actors on the ground that the end of the IEMF mandate, in September 2003, would result in renewed fighting and that MONUC’s mandate and resources at the time were not sufficiently robust to continue the IEMF mission in Bunia and the wider Ituri province.


 Section D.4.  U.S. State Department Reports Concerning Human Rights  


Steven C. Poe, Sabine C. Carey, &  Tanya C. Vazquez, How are These Pictures Different? A Quantitative Comparison of the U.S. State Department and Amnesty International Human Rights Reports, 1976-1995, 23 Hum. Rts. Q. 650 (2001).

Poe, Carey, & Vazquez use a series of quantitative tests to explore allegations that State Department human rights reports have been biased in favor of U.S. allies/trading partners and against leftist governments.  They find that there has been a tendency to bias reports against some leftist governments.  Furthermore, U.S. allies have enjoyed more favorable treatment from time to time.  There also appears to be a growing trend toward favoring larger U.S. trading partners.  Their analysis also concludes that the State Department reports of human rights abuses have converged with those of Amnesty International, giving very similar depictions of human rights conditions within the examined countries.  They offer this view as an optimistic conclusion and evidence that pressure from NGOs and other actors have resulted in an institutional response of improving the reports. 


Bush Administration and Human Rights Country Reports


a.         A New Administration Releases Country Reports on Human Rights Practices


On the occasion of the release of the 2001 Human Rights Country Reports at the State Department, Bush administration officials pledged to continue to make human rights a foreign policy priority and continue the institutional tradition of publishing highly detailed and accurate annual reports on most foreign nations. 


Secretary of State Colin Powell,  Statement on the Occasion of the Release of the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2001, U.S. Department of State. March 4, 2002, at: <>  (last visited November 10, 2003.)

These annual Reports are one of the most important instruments America has for championing respect for fundamental freedoms all over the globe.  The congressionally mandated Reports are an expression of the commitment of the United States Government to advance internationally agreed upon human rights principles.

The attacks of September 11th, in which some 3,000 men, women and children from 80 countries died, reminded us all of our common humanity.  Today, as America stands against terrorism with countries all around the world, we also reaffirm what our nation has stood for since its earliest days: for human rights, for democracy and for the rule of law.

The worldwide promotion of human rights is in keeping with America's most deeply held values.  It is also strongly in our interests.  Freedom fights terrorism, instability and conflict.  Time and again, experience has shown that countries which demonstrate high degrees of respect for human rights also are the most secure and the most successful. Indeed, respect for human rights is essential to lasting peace and sustained economic growth, goals which Americans share with people all over the world.

President Bush, the Congress of the United States and the American people are united in the conviction that active support for human rights must be an integral part of American foreign policy.  The United States will be a steadfast friend to men and women around the world who bravely seek to improve the observance of international human rights standards within their own countries and worldwide. . . .

We have done our utmost to ensure the accuracy, objectivity and integrity of the Reports. The Reports speak for themselves. They also give a voice to the voiceless. They shed cleansing light on the darkest of abuses.  And they provide a benchmark for improvement. In short, they are a force for freedom.


b.         Praise for First Bush Administration Human Rights Country Reports (2002)


Human Rights Watch generally praised the Bush Administration when it released its 2001 Human Rights Country Reports and pledged to continue to create accurate annual human rights reports.  Although, this release is after September 11, 2001, the tone is optimistic.


Press Release, Human Rights Watch, U.S. State Department Rights Reports Critique (March 4, 2002) at:<> (last visited November 17, 2003).

“This year’s State Department Human Rights Reports are largely candid and accurate, Human Rights Watch said today, while urging the Bush Administration to apply the reports’ findings to coming policy decisions.

The reports single out countries like China and Russia for using the war on terrorism to legitimize repression, and honestly describe abuses committed by U.S. allies such as Uzbekistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.  An exception is the Colombia chapter, which appears to inflate the military's progress in cutting ties with paramilitary groups to set the stage for certifying compliance with Congressional human rights conditions.

The reports also forthrightly acknowledge that terrorists gain adherents in countries where human rights are denied and civil liberties are repressed. . . .

Analogies to U.S. Policies: To its credit, the reports continue to criticize the practice of detaining suspects without charge in countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, China and Malaysia, as well as the prosecution of civilians in military courts without adequate due process.  America's ability to complain about such abuses will be undercut, however, if its response to terrorism at home does not reflect the standards championed by the State Department abroad.”


c.         Post-9/11 Concerns about the State Department’s Reports at Congressional Hearings


Though there was a positive response to the State Department’s Human Rights Country Reports in 2002, an April 2003 hearing in the House International Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on International Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Human Rights prompted a more critical response from human rights watchdogs.  In the following selection, Alexandra Arriaga, Director of Government Relations for Amnesty International USA questions whether the Department of State has been able to maintain progress in accuracy of human rights reports.

A Review of the State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices:
Hearing Before the Committee on International Relations' Subcommittee on International Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Human Rights
, 108th Congress, (2003)(Testimony by Alexandra Arriaga, Director of Government Relations, Amnesty International USA) at: (last visited November 10, 2003).

“Amnesty International finds the Country Reports to be generally honest and factual in character, but notes with concern an apparent shift this year.  Specifically, we are concerned that the Country Reports downplay some human rights issues for which the U.S. may feel vulnerable to international criticism.  The Country Reports also appear to omit information on measures taken by governments in the name of the war on terror, possibly in response to U.S. urging, that have led to human rights abuses.  Moreover, Amnesty International is increasingly concerned by the growing gap between these reports and US policy on human rights.  This year, more than in other years in recent past, the Country Reports are reduced in value by being set adrift from this Administration's development of foreign policy, which has been selective, inconsistent, and in some cases damaging to human rights over the long-term.  Nonetheless, the Country Reports continue to serve as an important annual measure of the state of human rights worldwide and a tool to hold countries accountable for their actions relating to human rights.”

In addition to the annual State Department Reports Concerning Human Rights, the State Department now issues four additional fact-finding reports:

Supporting Human Rights and Democracy:  The U.S. Record

<> (last visited October 20, 2003) 

  This report is submitted to the Congress by the Department of State in compliance with Section 665 of P.L. 107-228, the Fiscal Year 2003 Foreign Relations Authorization Act, which was signed into law on September 30, 2002. It requires the Department to report on actions taken by the U.S. Government to encourage respect for human rights.  This report is being submitted to Congress for the first time and complements the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2002.  

 “Unlike the 196 Country Reports, Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 2002-2003 highlights U.S. efforts to promote human rights and democracy in only 92 countries and entities—the 92 with the most human rights abuses. References to Hong Kong, Macau and Tibet have been incorporated into the China report, and Western Sahara is mentioned in the Morocco report.  Due to the rapidly evolving situation in Iraq, this report does not include that country.”

International Religious Freedom Report

<> (last visited October 20, 2003)

             The International Religious Freedom Report for 2002 is submitted to the Congress by the Department of State in compliance with Section 102(b) of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998.  The law provides that the Secretary of State shall transmit to Congress by September 1 of each year, or the first day thereafter on which the appropriate House of Congress is in session, ‘an Annual Report on International Religious Freedom supplementing the most recent Human Rights Reports by providing additional detailed information with respect to matters involving international religious freedom.’ This Annual Report includes 192 country chapters on the status of religious freedom worldwide.”


Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000: Trafficking in Persons Report at: <> (last visited October 20, 2003)

            Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said, “The Annual Trafficking in Persons Report is about modern day slavery and slave trading. . . .  The President, members of Congress, and I share a commitment to end modern day slavery.  This report is an important diplomatic tool towards that goal.  The report details international and U.S. efforts to end trafficking in persons, to protect and help victims, and prosecute those who treat people like commodities or keep them in slave-like conditions.  The report emphasizes the human side of trafficking through victim stories and highlights innovative measures some countries are using to prevent trafficking in persons, prosecute those who traffic in human misery, and protect those most vulnerable to this transnational crime. . . .  I hope that this report will be informative and lead countries to strengthen their efforts to combat trafficking in persons.  All of us can and must do better in this struggle for human liberty and dignity.”


Patterns of Global Terrorism at: <> (last visited October 20, 2003)


             “The annual ‘Patterns of Global Terrorism’ report is submitted in compliance with Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f(a), which requires the Department of State to provide Congress a full and complete annual report on terrorism for those countries and groups meeting the criteria of Section (a)(1) and (2) of the Act.”


Section D.5.1.  Fact-finding for Truth Commissions: The Commission on the Truth for El Salvador



An interesting example of international human rights fact-finding is the Commission on the Truth for El Salvador. The following derives principally from the Commission’s report.[15]    


I. The Commission’s Mandate

Under UN auspices, from 1989 through early 1992,the Government of El Salvador and the Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN), a Salvadoran guerrilla rebel group, negotiated peace agreements to end the 11-year old civil war.  The peace agreements provided for the establishment of a Truth Commission.


In interpreting this Mandate, the Commission first had to decide what was the applicable law for evaluating these serious acts of violence.  It concluded that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the American Convention on Human Rights, both of which had been ratified by El Salvador, were the governing instruments for international human rights law and applied to the acts of the Government and the FMLN, which had assumed governmental powers in parts of the country.  (Id. at 20.)  In particular, these parts of article 4 of the Covenant were applicable: the right to life, the right not to be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and the right not to be held in slavery or any form of servitude.  (Id. at 21.)


The Commission also decided that the acts of violence should be judged by article 3 of the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Additional Protocol II thereto, all of which had been ratified by El Salvador.  (Id. at 21.)  These instruments barred arbitrary deprivation of life; torture; cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment; taking of hostages; and denial of due process before criminal penalties are imposed and carried out.  (Id.)


II. The Commission’s Methodology

The Mandate accepted by the parties to the civil war established that the Commission was to conduct its activities “on a confidential basis,” that it was not to “function in the manner of a judicial body,” that it could use “whatever sources of information it deems useful and reliable;” and that it could “interview, freely and in private,” anyone; and that its procedures should “yield results in the short term, without prejudice to the obligations incumbent on the Salvadoran courts to solve such cases and impose the appropriate penalties on the culprits.” (Id. at 22.)


In evaluating and implementing this Mandate regarding its procedures and methodology, the Commission made the following decisions:


·        It would investigate individual cases or acts, which outraged Salvadoran society and/or international opinion as well as series of individual cases with similar characteristics revealing a pattern of violence or ill-treatment, which also outraged Salvadoran society.


·        Its sources would be confidential.


·        It interviewed people and received reports form governments and international bodies.


·        It would take all possible steps to ensure the reliability of the evidence used to arrive at a finding; to verify, substantiate and review all statements of facts by checking them against a large number of sources whose veracity had been established and by not basing any finding on a single source or witness or only on a secondary source.


·        It would name perpetrators of human rights violations.


·        Its report would specify the degree of certainty for each finding: (a) “overwhelming evidence” would indicate “conclusive or highly convincing evidence;” (b) “substantial evidence” would indicate “very solid evidence;” and (c) “sufficient evidence” would indicate “more evidence to support the . . . finding than to contradict it.”


III. The Commission’s Report

On March 15, 1993, the Commission delivered its report to the UN Security Council, the Government of El Salvador, the FMLN, and COPAZ, an organization created by the peace agreements to supervise the implementation of the political agreements in the peace accords.


A.  Findings of Investigations


The Report made findings on 31 cases of serious acts of violence, including the extrajudicial executions of the Jesuit priests in 1989 and the four American churchwomen in 1980 and the death squad assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero in 1980.  These cases were analyzed in the following groups: (a) violence against opponents by agents of the State (extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances); (b) massacres of peasants by the armed forces; (c) death squad assassinations; (d) violence against opponents by the FMLN; and (e) murders of judges.  (Id. at 43-171.)


B.  Recommendations


There were four sets of recommendations by the Commission.


1.  Recommendations inferred directly from the investigation’s results.


Armed force officers who were personally implicated in the perpetuation or cover-up of these acts or who did not initiate or cooperate in the investigation and punishment of these acts should be dismissed.  Similarly civilians in the civil service or judiciary who covered up such acts or failed to investigate same should be dismissed.  Such individuals also should be barred for at least 10 years from holding any public office and permanently disqualified from any activity related to public security or national defense. (Id. at 176.)


Judicial reform was imperative.  The current members of the Supreme Court should resign immediately to allow the election of new judges under other provisions of the peace accords.  The new statute for the new National Council of the Judiciary should be amended so that the National Assembly can dismiss the Council’s members dismissed only for precise legal cause.  (Id. at 177.)


The Career Judicial Service Act should be amended so that the only judges who can remain in office are those who demonstrate to the National Council on the Judiciary that they have judicial aptitude, efficiency and concern for human rights as well as independence, judicial discretion, honesty and impartiality.  (Id. at 177.)


“[P]ublic morality demands that those responsible for the crimes” described in the report be punished.  But a judiciary can do that only after it has been reformed.  (Id. at 177-79.)


2.  Eradication of structural causes linked directly to the acts investigated.


Armed forces reform.  The peace accords’ provisions for reform of the armed forces should be implemented rapidly and transparently under close civilian supervision. Military legislation needs to be reviewed immediately so that it can be amended to be consistent with the peace accords.  The military curriculum needs to include training in human rights.  The new military Court of Honour needs to eradicate any relationships between current and former military officers and paramilitary groups or any illegal armed group.  (Id. at 179-80.)


Public security reforms.  The guidelines for the new National Civil Police must be scrupulously observed.  There must be a complete separation between the police and the armed forces.  (Id. at 180.)


Investigation of illegal groups.  There must be immediate investigation of private armed groups.  (Id. at 180.)


3.  Institutional reforms to prevent the repetition of acts of violence.


Administration of justice.  The peace accords had various provisions relating to the administration of justice, and several of these points were emphasized by the Commission.  (Id. at 181-82.)


Protection of human rights.  The peace accords’ provisions about protection of human rights must be strictly implemented, and the UN observer team’s future recommendations regarding human rights should be implemented.  The Office of the National Counsel for the Defense of Human Rights must be strengthened.  The remedies of amparo and habeas corpus must be made effective.  The system of administrative detention needs to be changed.  The information system about detainees needs to be expanded.  The legislature needs to enact a statute providing a remedy for a victim of human rights violations.  The government needs to ratify certain international human rights instruments.  (Id. at 182-84.)


National civil police.  The peace accords’ provisions for the new national civil police need to be implemented.  (Id. at 184.)


4.  Steps toward national reconciliation.


In order to achieve national reconciliation, there must be a collective reflection on the reality of the recent past, acknowledgement of what happened and a resolve that it must never happen again.  The guilty must be punished.  The victims and their families must be adequately compensated.  (Id. at 184-86.)  A national forum for truth and reconciliation should be established.  (Id. at 186.)


The UN’s Independent Expert for El Salvador should evaluate the implementation of the Truth Commission’s recommendations.  (Id. at 187.)


IV.  Implementation of the Commission’s Recommendations


Five days after the delivery of the Commission’s report, El Salvador’s National Assembly approved amnesty from criminal prosecution for all those implicated in that report.  This legislation was recommended by President Cristiani and passed by the ARENA party-controlled Assembly over objections by the UN Secretary General and the new Salvadoran Human Rights Ombudsman.  This legislation superseded the Law of National Reconciliation of January 1992, which banned amnesty for those found responsible by the Truth Commission.  In May 1993 the Salvadoran Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the constitutionality of the amnesty.  Hence, the Commission’s strong recommendation of punishment for the guilty was rejected.  (U.S. State Dep’t, El Salvador Human Rights Practices, 1993, at 1 (Jan. 31, 1994); Hemisphere Initiatives, Justice Impugned: The Salvadoran Peace Accords and the Problem of Impunity at 6-7 (June 1993); Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, El Salvador’s Negotiated Revolution: Prospects for Legal Reform at 62-79.)


The Commission’s recommendations of judicial reform were also vehemently attacked. The Salvadoran Supreme Court en banc held a press conference to reject the report’s conclusions and recommendations because it aimed to “subvert the order established by the Constitution, international treaties or legislation.” (Justice Impugned at 6)  But in July 1994 the National Assembly appointed a new Supreme Court that did not include any former justices and that was regarded as more professional and better balanced. (Hemisphere Initiatives, Justice Delayed: The Slow Pace of Judicial Reform in El Salvador at 3-5(Dec. 1994))  Some of the other judicial reforms have been implemented. (Id. at 6-16.)


The armed forces also denounced the Commission’s report, but eventually over 100 officers were transferred, discharged or retired.  In addition, the military was reduced in size, and civilians had input into the military academy.  These results were, in part, due to another report by another group created by the peace accords—the Ad Hoc Commission.  (Justice Impugned at 6; Hemisphere Initiatives, Chapultepec: Five Years Later (Jan. 1967))


Further, it must not be forgotten that the civil war was ended and that the FLMN became a participant in electoral politics.  Although its candidates have not won the presidency, they have been elected to the National Assembly and to the office of mayor of many cities.


Section D.5.2. Fact-finding for Truth Commissions: Peru’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission


In June 2000, following the fall of the Alberto Fujimori administration and the exposure of twenty years of human rights abuses and corruption at the highest levels of government, the interim government established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.[16]  In June 2001, newly-elected President Alejandro Toledo expanded the Commission and pledged to implement its recommendations.  The Commission’s mandate covered the period from May 1980 to November 2002.  It investigated human rights abuses and violence attributable to the state or to armed insurgent groups, such as Shining Path and Tupac Amaru.  The Commission examined the conditions that gave rise to the violence, contributed to judicial investigations, and recommended reforms.  The Commission delivered its final report to President Toledo on August 28, 2003, available at <> (in Spanish, last visited September 25, 2003).  More information on the work of the Commission is available on its website at


Section D.6.  Fact-finding for Truth Commissions: Further Information and Reading


One of the primary international non-governmental organizations dealing with Truth and Reconciliation Commissions is the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ).  The ICTJ assists countries in developing strategies for transitional justice i.e. accomplishing the move from repressive and abusive systems of government to free and democratic ones, while ensuring stability, peace and justice for victims of violence.  The center focuses on five key elements:

-         prosecuting perpetrators;

-         documenting violations through non-judicial means such as truth commissions;

-         reforming abusive institutions;

-         providing reparations to victims;

-         and advancing reconciliation.

The website is available  at <>  (last visited September 26, 2003).


Section F.  Fact-finding in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea


For a comparison with the report in the Coursebook see:


-         Human Rights Watch, Briefing to the 59th Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Human Rights Watch, (2003), available at <>.

-         Amnesty International, World Report 2003: Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of), Amnesty International (2003), available at <>.


Section G.2. Further Readings on the “Impact of Fact-Finding Investigations”


M. Cherif Bassiouni, Appraising UN Justice-Related Fact-Finding Missions, 5 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol’y 35 (2001).


The Stanley Foundation, UN On the Ground (2003), available at: <> (last visited November 29, 2003)


The Stanley Foundation recently released a report that brings together its findings from 14 different forums over two years with more than 30 professionals and diplomats from both inside and outside the UN.  The report explores the dynamics of humanitarian operations in war-torn countries and makes concrete recommendations for making aid delivery as efficient and effective as possible given the enormous constraints of operating in such complicated environments.  Throughout the recommendations, there is an emphasis on in-depth research about the societies in question, accurate reporting of conditions on the ground, and on-going efforts to gather information about the effectiveness of aid.

[1] See U.N. membership list available at <>. 

[2] The following is a summary of points from the Amnesty International World Report 2003. It is available online at <> (last visited September 5, 2003)>. 

[3] The OAU became the African Union in July 2002.  See the Supplement to Chapter 1 on this site available at <>.

[4] Amnesty International World Report 2003.  The full text of the peace accords between the DRC and Uganda, the DRC and Rwanda, and the DRC and the MLC and RCD are available at <>

[5] Id.

[6] Amnesty International, World Report 2003, Amnesty International (2003)

[7] Democratic Republic of Congo: UN should deploy a rapid reaction force in Ituri, Amnesty International News, May 20, 2003, available at <> (last visited September 6, 2003)

[8] U.N. Doc. S/RES/1484 (2003) available at <>.

[10] Amnesty International, Media Briefing, Democratic Republic of the Congo: Mission Findings, Amnesty International, August 1, 2003, available at <> (last visited September 6, 2003)

[13] Amnesty International, Media Briefing: Democratic Republic of the Congo: Mission Findings (August, 2003) available at <> (last visited September 6, 2003)

[14] Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Second Quarterly Reports of Field Offices: Africa Region, OHCHR, (2003) available in French at <> (last visited September 6, 2003). 

[15] From Madness to Hope: the 12-year war in El Salvador: Report of the Commission on the Truth for El Salvador, U.N. Doc. S/25500 (1993), available at <>.

[16] Presidential decree of December 2000 authorizing the establishment of the Truth Commission, available at <> (last visited September 25, 2003)

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