National Reconciliation Process Begins Today
The national reconciliation commission begins work today with the collection of statements from people who suffered human rights violations and abuses during the periods of unconstitutional rule. The commission which will be sitting at the old parliament house in Accra, is expected to hear specific cases of all those who have suffered any injury, hurt or damage, or people who have in other manner been adversely affected by violations and abuses of human rights during the periods under review.
The periods under review, as defined by Act 611, which set up the NRC, are February 24, 1966 to August 21, 1969, January 13, 1972 to September 23, 1979, and December 31, 1981 to January 6, 1993. Aggrieved persons should be those who have suffered out of activities or inactivities of public institutions and persons holding public offices during periods of unconstitutional governments. Furthermore, people desirous of lodging complaints or petitions in respect of violations or abuses of human right abuses outside those periods of unconstitutional government and between March 6, 1957 and January 6, 1993 are encouraged to lodge such complaints and petitions with the commission. Such complaints can be lodged with the commission’s offices in Accra, Ho, Kumasi and Takoradi.
Complaints would also be received at zonal offices in Bolgatanga and Tamale, set up to collect statements from aggrieved persons in the northern parts of the country. Also expected to appear are those with information concerning violations and abuses of human rights, relating to killings, abductions, disappearances, detentions, torture, ill-treatment and seizure of property.
The commission is expected to hold both public and private hearings for a period not exceeding one year from the date of its first hearing except that for a good cause shown by the commission, the President may by Executive Instrument, extend the term of the commission for a further period of six months. At the end of its work, the commission shall within three months, submit its final report to the President.
The report, according to the Act establishing it, shall summarize the findings and make recommendations embodying the reforms and other measures, whether legal, political, administrative or otherwise, needed to achieve the object of the commission. It will also contain the provision of an accurate historical record, ways to prevent the repetition of the violations or abuses suffered, appropriate response to the needs of victims and the promotion of healing and reconciliation.