General News Wed, 25 Feb 2004

"Go To Court!"- NRC

The National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) has dared anyone to take it to court to challenge any aspect of its work.

The Director of the Legal Department of the NRC, Mr. Allotey Mingle issued the challenge through a fax message from Cape Coast where the NRC is currently sitting, in response to an ADM lead story last week which said some lawyers were planning to take the Commission to court to prevent it from looking into the judges and retired army officer's murder case.

"The lawyers could go to court to challenge the NRC.

That is their right. And the court would decide. That is the beauty of democracy," he said. The story headlined, "Drama at the Supreme Court soon?NRC to be dragged to court?in connection with judges' murder," stated among others that the lawyers are contending that the NRC lacks the power to take evidence in connection with the case since it had already been dealt with by a law court.

However, Mr. Mingle said "though the case was tried and some persons were convicted, the National Reconciliation Commission has a right to look into the matter to establish whether there were other people, apart from the convicts, behind the murder." Therefore, he said the Commission "is not sitting as a court but as a body investigating human rights violations."

Mr. Mingle said "the NRC is empowered by Act 611 - the act that set up the Commission - to look into 'any other matters,' apart from its specified mandate, 'that can bring about national reconciliation.'" He said, "More important, the NRC is investigating the case of the murder of three plus one because it has human rights element and so long has there are petitions by the families" the Commission would go ahead to investigate it.

Mr. Mingle said that is why the commission is looking at the Special Investigative Board which probed the murder in 1982 and other sources of evidence. "The NRC is also investigating allegations by Capt. Kojo Tsikata, the then head of security, that there was a conspiracy by the SIB and some people to frame him up."
Source: Accra Daily Mail