Jolie Begins Sierra Leone Goodwill Trip

Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie (search) began a goodwill trip Monday to Sierra Leone (search) to meet survivors of this battered West African nation's devastating war and urge authorities to make public the recommendations of a special commission set up to reconcile the nation.

Jolie, a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (search) since 2001, flew to Freetown late Monday, agency spokeswoman Rachel Goldstein-Rodriguez said.

Sierra Leone's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, set up after a brutal 10-year-war ended in 2002, has collected thousands of written statements documenting atrocities and held public hearings in a bid to offer victims a shot at catharsis by recounting their tales.

The commission's final report was presented to President Ahmed Tejah Kabbah in October 2004, but it and its recommendations have yet to be made public.

Jolie is expected to meet Kabbah on Wednesday, as well as other government officials, aid workers and victims of the bloodshed during her three-day visit, the New York-based nonprofit organization Witness said in a statement.

"Sierra Leone is still scarred by the war, but the people have invested a great deal of courage and hope in the truth and reconciliation process," Witness quoted Jolie as saying ahead of her visit. "It is vital that the government acts on the (Truth and Reconciliation Commission's) recommendations to ensure that history will not repeat itself."

Sierra Leone's rebels gained international infamy for hacking off the limbs of their civilian victims and carving their initials into victims' chests during in a decade-long war.

The truth commission, modeled on that of South Africa, did not offer amnesty from prosecution. However, a separate U.N.-backed war-crimes tribunal was set up prosecute war criminals.

Jolie won a supporting-actress Oscar for 1999's "Girl, Interrupted." She has visited refugee camps throughout the world, most recently visiting Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

Witness said Jolie will also attend a screening of "Witness to Truth," a documentary the organization produced at the commission's behest that summarizes the commission's key findings and causes of the war.

The visit will be Jolie's second. She first toured Sierra Leone in 2001.