National Implementation of IHL
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Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, Act 34 of 1995
19.07.1995
01.12.1995
As amended by: Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Amendment Act, No. 87 of 1995; Judicial Matters Amendment Act, No. 104 of 1996; Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Amendment Act, No. 18 of 1997; Public Service Laws Amendment Act, No. 47 of 1997; Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Amendment Act, No. 84 of 1997; Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Amendment Act, No. 33 of 1998; Judicial Matters Amendment Act, No. 34 of 1998.
Statutes of the Republic of South Africa - Constitutional Law, pp. 801-854., http://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/acts/1995-034.pdf (last accessed on 12.04.2013)

Summary
This Act established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, whose essential objective is to "promote national unity and reconciliation in a spirit of understanding which transcends the conflicts and divisions of the past". The Commission is enjoined to help achieve this objective by "establishing as complete a picture as possible of the causes, nature and extent of the gross violations of human rights" committed between 1 March 1960 and 6 December 1993 ("cut-off date"). It must also facilitate "the granting of amnesty to persons who make full disclosure of all the relevant facts relating to acts associated with a political objective", to establish and to make known "the fate or whereabouts of victims" and, finally, to compile a report that provides a comprehensive account of its activities and findings, including the recommendation of measures to prevent violation of human rights.

Three committees and an investigation unit are created for the purpose of achieving the objectives set out for the Commission. These are the committee on human rights violations, the committee on amnesty, and the committee on reparation and rehabilitation. The committee on human rights violations is entrusted with the conduct of enquiries into gross violations of human rights committed during the period specified. The investigations are limited to "gross violations of human rights", which are defined as the killing, abduction, torture or severe ill-treatment of any person, or any attempt, conspiracy, incitement, instigation, command or procurement to commit any of these acts. The committee on amnesty is given wide powers to grant amnesty in respect of any act, omission or offence to which the particular application for amnesty relates, provided that the applicant concerned has made a full disclosure of all relevant facts and provided further that the relevant act, omission or offence is associated with a political objective. Specifically excluded from the amnesty are acts, omissions or offences committed "out of personal malice, ill-will or spite" or those committed for personal gain. The committee's decision is final and cannot be reviewed by the Commission. The committee on reparation and rehabilitation is given powers to gather information and receive evidence for the purpose of ultimately recommending to the President suitable reparations for victims of gross violations of human rights.

The Commission's report was presented to President Nelson Mandela on 29 October 1998.

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