Sierra Leone

Summary of the findings and core recommendations of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)

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I. Summary of the Main Findings

1. Causes of the Conflict

While there were many factors, both internal and external, that explain the cause of the civil war, the Commission came to the conclusion that it was years of bad governance, endemic corruption and the denial of basic human rights that created the deplorable conditions that made conflict inevitable. The TRC Report highlights in its findings that many of the causes of conflict that prompted thousands of young people to join the war have still not been adequately addressed. The Commission commenced its primary findings with the conclusion that the conflict and the independence period preceding it, represented the most shameful years of Sierra Leone's history. These periods reflected an extraordinary failure of leadership on the part of many of those involved in government, public life and civil society. No enlightened and visionary leaders emerged to steer the country away from the slide into chaos and bloody civil war, the Commission concluded.

2. Denial of Humanity

The story of the war encapsulated in the TRC Report reveals how Sierra Leoneans were denied their humanity. The story underscores the need for the creation of a human rights culture in Sierra Leone. A rights culture demands that Sierra Leoneans respect each other's human rights, without exception.

3. Nature of the Conflict

According to the TRC Report the overwhelming majority of atrocities were committed by Sierra Leoneans against Sierra Leoneans; all the fighting factions targeted civilians, especially women; and Sierra Leone was systematically plundered and looted by all factions in the conflict.