The concept of a right to the truth is increasingly utilised in different settings to empower victims and societies to find out about past abuses linked to conflict or authoritarianism. Since the last comprehensive study of this topic in 2006, there has been little attempt to draw together the advancements of fragmented practices. Recent developments in European human rights call for a fresh analysis of the right to the truth as a freestanding principle linked to, but separate from, the state duty to investigate. This paper takes stock of the more recent evolutions of the right to the truth and contributes to its independent conceptualisation. The first part investigates whether there is growing consistency between the Inter-American and European human rights systems around the contours of the right to the truth, as linked to survivors’ right to know the past and to access justice (make claims) as an individual and collective matter. The second part broadens the discussion to the status of the right to the truth under international law in light of the ECHR jurisprudence, and considers whether the available legal categories are suited to its formalisation.