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Travails of truth: achieving justice for victims of impunity in Nigeria.Following its transition from authoritarian military rule marked by gross violations of human rights, Nigeria established the Human Rights Violations Investigations Commission (HRVIC) in 1999. This paper critically examines the contributions of the Commission popularly known as the ‘Oputa Panel’ to the field of transitional justice and the rule of law. It sets out the process of establishing the Commission, the mandate of the HRVIC and how this was interpreted during the course of the Commission’s work. The challenges faced by the Oputa Panel are analysed to serve as signposts for other truth commissions, particularly in relation to its legal status and relationship with the judiciary. Recourse by some powerful individuals to the judicial process in a bid to shield them from the Truth Commission merits particular review as it raises questions regarding the transformation of the judiciary and the rule of law in the wake of an authoritarian regime.