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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 15

Volume 5

Chapter 1

Subsection 6




The task of the Commission is to identify those people who suffered gross violations of human rights, defined as KILLING, ABDUCTION, TORTURE and SEVERE ILL TREATMENT. In addition to these four, there is a fifth category, the ASSOCIATED VIOLATION. This has not been defined as a gross violation, yet it is important for the understanding it provides of the context in which violations could and did take place. Each of the five categories has several sub-headings, which explain how the violation took place.

The categories of Human Rights Violations

The table below shows the categories of human rights violations (HRV) with their definitions.

Killing KILLING A killing is when a person dies, in one of three ways: Assassination is killing of a targeted person by a person or group who developed a secret plan or plot to achieve this. A person is targeted because of political position. Execution is capital punishment (death sentence) imposed and carried out by a legal or authorised body such as court of law or tribunal. Victim is aware of death sentence. Perpetrators are the state, homeland governments, or security structures of political movements. Killing is all other deaths, including a killing by a crowd of people.
Torture TORTURE Torture happens in captivity or in custody of any kind, formal or informal (for example, prisons, police cells, detention camps, private houses, containers, or anywhere while the individual is tied up or bound to something). Torture is usually used to get information, or to force the person to do something (for example, admit to a crime, or sign a statement), but it is also used for punishment, degradation, and systematic breakdown of an individual. It includes mental or psychological torture (for example, witnessing torture, or telling the person that their family is dead).
Severe ill-treatment SEVERE Severe ill treatment covers attempted killing and all forms of inflicted suffering causing extreme bodily and/or mental harm. It tends to take place outside of custody (for example, injury by a car bomb, or assault at a rally), but a person can be subjected to severe ill treatment in custody too (for example, a single severe beating, or tear gas in the cell).
Abduction ABDUCTION Abduction is when a person is forcibly and illegally taken away (for example, kidnapping). It does not mean detention or arrest. Arrest is not a gross violation of human rights (see associated violations). If the person is never found again, it is a disappearance.
Associated violation ASSOCIATED These are not gross violations of human rights, but are important for understanding the context of the violation (for example, detention, harassment, framing, violating a corpse after death).
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