Sexual violence committed during war or internal armed conflict is a major global challenge. It has mostly remained under-addressed during transitions from conflict and repressive regimes. Some governments have tried to address conflict-related-sexual-violence (CRSV) through truth commissions, whose job it is to document human rights violations and provide recommendations to remedy the past and prevent future violations.
This project investigates how Latin American and African truth commission since the early 1980s have dealt with CRSV throughout their operations and in their recommendations. To what extent have changing international norms and legal frameworks shaped the agenda of truth commissions when it comes to CRSV? And how have truth commissions contributed to advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda (set by UN Security Council Resolution 1325) and its focus on the gendered experience of conflict?
By establishing a first-ever database on the connections between truth commissions, CRSV, and international law, the project will provide an empirical basis for cross-regional research and analysis on the impact of collective truth-seeking in addressing legacies of CRSV. This research has direct relevance to scholarly and policy discourses on transitional justice in Africa and Latin America, and also informs wider theoretical and policy discussions. The project has policy implications for the design of truth commissions and recommendations that are of direct relevance to improving how CRSV can be addressed.
Project findings will be relevant for the management of expectations generated by truth commissions among policymakers, activists, survivors and the wider public. The project will be carried out by an interdisciplinary research team based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute (Norway), the Centre for the Study of Violence & Reconciliation (South Africa), and ODI (UK) in collaboration CIESAS (Mexico) and PRIO (Norway).