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07.07.2004 General News

Tsatsu Tsikata wins round one

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Accra, July 7, GNA - An Accra High Court on Wednesday overruled preliminary objections raised by Nene Amagatcher, Counsel representing Mr Justice Kweku Etru Amua-Sekyi, Chairman of the National Reconciliation (NRC) on an application bordering his conduct.

The Court presided over by Mr Justice Richard Asamoah has, therefore, granted leave to the Applicant to move its motion before the Court on Thursday, July 8.

The Court was of the view that the applications needed not to include the Commission because the application concerned a particular person's act and conduct.

On the matter of procedural error committed by the Applicant, the Court rejected it saying it was inconsequential.

Nene Amegatcher on Tuesday July 6 raised a preliminary objection filed against the manner in which the application was served on the respondent (Chairman of the NRC) saying the Court should set aside the proceeding for non-compliance of the High Court procedures.

He said there should have been eight days clear between service of the motion and the date fixed for hearing adding this was contrary to the rules.

"In addition, the applicant has filed two affidavits in support of the statement of claims on July 5 but he should have sought leave of the Court before doing so."

He further stated that the application should have included the National Reconciliation Commission instead picking on its Chairman. Mr Tsikata in the application accused Mr Justice Amua-Sekyi of showing dislike, animosity and bias towards him.

The application is, therefore, asking the Court to require Mr Justice Amua-Sekyi to perform his legal duty in respect to the appearance of Mr Tsikata before the Commission by conducting himself in a judicial manner devoid of bias, arbitrariness and personal dislike or animosity.

Nene Amegatcher noted that the application also sought to direct the Commission on how to conduct its affairs but this should not be so.

"If all the over 4,000 applicants had dictated to the NRC on how to conduct itself the Commission would not be able submit its report at the deadline," Counsel argued.

He said the Commission though had a time to listen to each application, it was only the Commission that would decide on the duration for cross-examinations "else we would have Lawyers taking five days to cross-examine witnesses".

Counsel said the NRC was an "investigative body that sought to investigate human right abuses; make recommendation to the Government as well as offer compensation to victims.

"The NRC is not a Court of law, a tribunal and not an adjudicating body and it was not determining any matter. Its final report could be rejected or accepted by government."

He said the application of Certiorari, Mandamus, Prohibition, and Co-Warrantor should not stand.

"The NRC should be made a party in the suit as the Commission was directly affected in the proceedings. I would, therefore, pray the Court to make the Commission a party" Nene Amegatcher said.

Professor E.V.O Dankwa, Counsel for Tsikata admitted that the Chairman of NRC was appointed in accordance with the law but stated that he should act accordingly.

He noted that impartiality was an essential requirement on the part of the Chairman, "all that we were requiring was to allow us to cross-examine our witness".

On the procedure of filing two further affidavits, he was of the view that the matter before the Court required urgency.

On June 28, this year Mr Tsikata filed an application asking the Court to require the NRC Chairman to conduct himself in a manner that would not jeopardize the independence or harm the credibility, impartiality or integrity of the Commission.

He should conduct himself in such a manner to enable the Commission to conduct itself, in a fair and candid manner and provide Mr Tsikata access to the original of the handwritten statement of Mr Justice G.E.K. Aikins.

Justice Amuah-Sekyi should also be made to provide Mr Tsikata access to the petition in respect of which Mr Justice Aikins was called as a witness.

The Court should further require the NRC Chairman to allow the Commission to consider and determine the following: "The application to the Commission by the applicant for extension of time to conduct the remainder of applicant's cross-examination of Mr Justice Aikins before the National Reconciliation Commission.

"The application of the applicant for access for the purposes of his cross-examination to the original of the handwritten statement submitted by Mr Justice Aikins to the Commission and further to which he testified.

"The application by applicant before commencing his cross-examination for access, for the purposes of his cross-examination, to the petition in respect of which Justice Aikins was called upon to testify.

"The application by applicant at the beginning of his cross-examination for access, for the purposes of cross-examination, to the transcript of evidence of an in camera hearing of evidence by Mr Justice Aikins.

"The application by applicant for an order requiring Justice Aikins to produce records he claims to have in his possession in respect of a matter on which he testified before the Commission; namely the date of his going to Gondar Barracks for a meeting with the Chairman of the PNDC.

Finally, Professor Dankwa was seeking an order to restrain Mr Justice Amua-Sekyi from participating in any of the determinations affecting Mr Tsikata because of the bias that he had shown towards Mr Tsikata.

The matter was adjourned to July 8 to enable Counsel for the applicant move his motion.

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