The Commission Structure and Work Methodology
The Commission’s Chairperson established the general direction of the Commission and also managed its daily functioning.
The Commission coordinated its administrative work with Georgia’s Ministry of Culture and the Protection of Historical Monuments. For its part, the Ministry provided essential logistical and financial support for the work of the Commission.
The work of the Commission involved 18 Georgian historians who had particular expertise in the history of Georgia in the18th-20th centuries. Of 18 members of the Commission, 9 were Commission Consultants and 9 were Commission Reviewers. (See below for a description of the functions of the Consultants and the Reviewers).
The Commission’s Chairperson signed short-term, mutual contracts with the Commission’s Consultants and Reviewers and entered into a working relationship with them in order to conduct the Commission’s scholarly research and review. Based on the terms of the signed contract, Consultants and Reviewers received an honorarium.
The Commission differed in its work methodology from Truth Commissions elsewhere in the world. Typically, Truth Commissions investigate gross human rights violations and crimes committed by dictatorial regimes in the recent past. These types of commissions base their conclusions on the testimonies of witnesses and victims of those regimes. Because the Georgian Truth Commission studied and investigated a long historical time period, it did not have access to surviving victims and witnesses. Consequently, the Georgian Truth Commission’s report relies on historical sources exclusively. The report is based on hundreds of Georgian- and foreign-language primary sources and the scholarly works of Georgian and foreign historians.
The Commission studied the historical time period from the second half of the 18th century to the end of the 20th century divided into two parts, the Tsarist and the Soviet periods. The report was divided into 11 chapters, arranged according to specific historical themes and times.
The Commission’s Chairperson assigned each chapter to a certain Consultant for research and reporting, according to the Consultant’s area of expertise.
After this, each chapter underwent three stages of rigorous review. A Consultant submitted a chapter, based on extensive historical sources, to the Commission’s Chairperson. Then the Chairperson assigned the submitted chapter to two Reviewers who each reviewed the chapter independently, without being aware of each other’s identities. Specifically, Reviewers for each stage checked the accuracy and consistency of historical facts and events described in the chapter, identified areas to explain, expand on or shorten, and indicated additional historical sources to include. The reviewed chapter was returned to the original Consultant, who was obliged to take Reviewers’ comments into consideration during revision at each stage of the review process. Consultants then returned the chapter to the Commission’s Chairperson for the next stage of review.
In the third stage of the review process each chapter took its final form. After this, the Commission returned the completed chapter for the last time to the Consultant. Consultants were obliged to examine the final version of a chapter carefully, confirm that the Commission fully and accurately incorporated his or her research into it, and double check the accuracy of all historical sources.
After completing this entire procedure, the chapter was included in the report.
The overall time frame for the completion of each chapter was between two and four months.