Follow us on Twitter


You are here

Respondents in eastern Congo valued truth-seeking as an important feature of moving forward: 88 percent considers it important to know the truth about what happened. When asked how the truth could be established, over half the respondents mentioned an inquiry by the judicial system, showing again a preference for and faith in official structures of judiciary mechanisms for attaining the truth. The rate of support for inquiries by the judicial system was highest in Ituri, which has experienced the greatest progress in local reform of its judicial sector, compared to the Kivus.

A truth commission was mentioned by only 24 percent of respondents in eastern DRC. This result must be viewed against the experience during the Congolese transition of the creation of an official Congolese Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as pursuant to a resolution undertaken with the Sun City peace accords in 2002. That Commission, however, failed to conduct any serious activities. The low support for truth commissions expressed in the survey could reflect either a lack of awareness or understanding of the option of truth commissions, or a lack of faith in truth commissions because of the experience of the one that transpired during the transition as a politicized and ineffective mechanism.

Table 29: Truth-seeking mechanisms

Table 29 - Truth-seeking mechanisms

Although the population recognizes the general importance of truth-seeking exercises and aspires to know to the truth, security remains a significant barrier to talking openly about what has happened in eastern Congo. Only about two out of three respondents (63%) said they would agree to talk openly about what happened to them or their families.[1] Those who would not agree to do so most frequently cited fear of revenge or retaliation (50%). Fear of talking openly about the conflict was also examined when exploring the sense of safety among respondents (see Security): only one out of three respondents (30%) said they would feel safe or very safe talking openly about what they experienced during the conflict. Other respondents indicated that talking about what happened would be useless (23%) or that they have nothing to say (21%). The feeling of uselessness was more intense in Ituri (33%) than in the Kivus.

Table 30: Participation in truth-seeking mechanism

Table 30 - Participation in truth-seeking mechanism

[1] In comparison, 89 percent of the respondents were willing to talk openly about their experience during the conflict in northern Uganda according to our 2007 survey. Pham PN, et al., “When the War Ends: A Population-Based Survey on Attitudes about Peace, Justice, and Social Reconstruction in Northern Uganda,” Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley; Payson Center for International Development, Tulane University; International Center for Transitional Justice, New York (December 2007).