24
General News Sat, 19 Mar 2005

Kufuor Must Apologise For Rawlings

As Gov?t Plans to Release Bombshell

As Government prepares to release the controversial NRC report, GYE NYAME CONCORD can reveal that President John Agyekum Kufuor has been asked to apologise for crimes and other human rights abuses perpetrated under all the nation?s military juntas, including former president Rawlings-led Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) and Armed Forces Revolutionary Council regimes.

The two regimes led by Rawlings, according to the NRC, account for almost 86 percent of all human rights abuse in Ghana?s history.

The NRC maintained that a formal apology is owed the families of all those who were killed, as well as those who have disappeared and whose whereabouts, to date, are still unknown.

?The President must make a full and unqualified apology to the families of the murdered three High Court judges and the retired Army Officer who were murdered on 30th June, 1982, on the orders of the highest executive authority in the land?, said the NRC in Chapter Eight, Volume Three of its report.

It also recommends that President Kufuor similarly apologise to the families of those who were killed in the Yendi massacre of 1969 that resulted in a number of deaths at the palace of the Dagbon monarch.

The NRC?s report, expected to be officially made public in the next few weeks, said it is important that the State acknowledges the wrongs perpetrated against some citizens by state institutions.

?Many Ghanaians have suffered great wrongs at the hands of fellow citizens as well as the state itself through its office-holders?, the NRC pointed out, saying its work uncovered miserable tales of grievous and heinous crimes perpetrated on Ghanaians by Ghanaians.

The Police investigation team that probed the infamous murders of the three High Court judges and the retired army officer were also recommended for national honours for their persistence.

According to the report, members of the police investigative team who suffered victimization must be rehabilitated whilst those still in exile be assisted to return home and resettled, something the NRC believe would send clear signals that the state appreciates professionalism and dedicated service from its servicemen.

The NRC stressed that the events of those violations and abuses have traumatised the spirit of the nation and have produced shocks within the system whose impact transcend the time and place of their occurrence, as well as even the generations of Ghanaians affected by them.

It particularly mentioned the Preventive Detention Act (PDA) of the early years of Independence, the Protective Custody Law of NLC, NRC, SMC I, SMC II, and PNDC eras, whose effects the Commission believes would take a long time to wear off. And ?so also would be the effects of the cataclysmic events of the 112 days of AFRC rule as well as the abduction and murder of many citizens?.

To the NRC, the indemnity clauses under the Transitional Provisions to the 1992 Constitution remains a sore point with many whose rights were abused by the PNDC government and its appointees.

It relates that a stable constitutional order cannot be founded on injustice and impunity on the part of wrong-doers, matched by a deep sense of grievance by many citizens, stressing that the indemnity clauses perched in the nation?s constitution must readily be subjected to a referendum.

What bothered the Commission members was how office-holders under that regime wielded state power with little or no compassion, resulting in the suffering of many Ghanaians and leaving many homes being destroyed.

In its view, a formal state apology is very pertinent, considering the severe tortures, both physical as well as psychological, from which many people died, or have emerged with serious physical disabilities or mental illness.

?Women have been humiliated in public and [have] suffered acts of indignity that disgraced womanhood, and many prosperous businesses have collapsed, leaving their owners with debts from which many have been unable to recover?.

For the Commission, tying down to our mistakes or misfortune would only produce further suffering and every effort must be made to put ?all the pains behind us, and help to build a new Ghana where the conditions that produced such pain and suffering would not be permitted to occur?.

Source: GYE NYAME CONCORD