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04.10.2004 General News

NRC Close In On Jugdes Murderers

By Gye Nyame Concord

*But Rawlings drops bombshell: 'Report will be for propaganda'

AS MANY PONDER over what might be captured in the final report of the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) expected to be presented to the presidency next month, sources at the Commission say its report would satisfy everybody, including relatives of the three High Court judges and the retired military officer murdered in the early 80s.

Gye Nyame Concord has also learnt that the killings of the three High Court judges and Major Sam Acquah, which nearly threw some sessions of the Commission's sittings into turmoil, will feature prominently in the report.

But an official of the NRC reached last Monday pleaded for patience and goodwill for the Commission as they close the chapters on reconciling the nation.

According to him, the Commission would present a solid report that every Ghanaian would be proud of, adding that the NRC's report would surpass that of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The final report, Gye Nyame Concord gathered, would be guided by the work of past truth and reconciliation bodies in countries like Guatemala, Chile and South Africa, and would surprise everybody, especially the international community.

“This Commission has enjoyed a lot of support and goodwill from the general public, the media, as well as the international community and we can't afford to disappoint any of them”.

But former President Jerry John Rawlings, whose name is expected to run through several pages of the Commission's report, may have a problem with the report.

Speaking in a follow-up phone interview on the issue yesterday on behalf of his client, Hon Benjamin Kunbuor, lead counsel for Rawlings and MP for Lawra-Nandom, told this paper that the final report would amount to nothing short of propaganda because the reconciliation exercise was itself a propaganda event.

He said the essence and history of the two scenarios are different, arguing that the South Africans approached their reconciliation process with an honest attempt and desire to unravel their past in order to put it behind them. Ghana's case was different and was meant more for propaganda and electoral purposes, he claimed.

On his expectations of what the report would contain, he said certain findings of the NRC would be hotly contested, especially parts of the report that are likely to be based on in-camera-hearings where people were accused without them being offered the opportunity to clear their names or cross-examine their accusers to establish the truth.

“It would not be surprising to note that the Commission would draw conclusions based on in-camera allegations that would be challenged.”

He expects a debate on some of the cases heard partly in-camera and partly in the open.

He said people, for example, would be surprised that the Commission has come to judgements on allegations made in-camera without them being given the opportunity to expose the allegations as lies.

He also raised doubts on how members of the Commission would be able to separate and differentiate between facts and allegations raised in-camera and those made in the open to arrive at their final decision.

“You will find that some people will be surprised the NRC will come to judgement on in-camera allegations that they did not have the opportunity to challenge and which the NRC itself cannot prove or disprove”.

He also alleged that the reconciliation process was a vendetta aimed at pointing accusing fingers at selected regimes in order to indict them.

Meantime, the NRC says it is not true that some petitions were not heard. “Everybody who petitioned this Commission was heard, including those who brought petitions against some of the Commission's members.”

A visit to the Old Parliament House building which houses the Commission indicates that the NRC has upped its schedules to meet its deadline.

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