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General News Wed, 27 Nov 2002

NRC will not compensate vitims -Commissioner

Victims of alleged violations of human rights abuses in stipulated unconstitutional regimes under consideration by the National Reconciliation (NRC) will not automatically be compensated when they Filed complaints.

The Investigation Department would thoroughly investigate their petitions and its finding would be presented to the Commission's Legal Affairs Secretariat and it would move from there to the Commission for a final decision and the kind of compensation to given. A member of the Commission, Mr Christian Appiagyei gave the explanation in Accra when the Commission organised a seminar to sensitise members of the Greater Accra Civil Servants Association on the work of the Commission in Accra.

He said the focus of the reconciliation exercise is not just to dispense compensation but also to offer victims a platform to tell their painful stories. The outcome of the Commission's work, Mr Appiagyei said would provide justice, strengthen accountability and also provide a basis for apology and restitution.

He gave the assurance that the Commission would focus on the specified periods and called on Ghanaians to co-operate with it to accomplish its statutory mission. The Head of the Commission's Counselling Department, Dr Araba Sefa Dede said the department offer counselling to victims who requested it. She said the department had dealt with cases of trauma, anger, rage, depression and anxiety. Dr Sefa-Dede said the individual as well as the nation needs healing and noted that trauma on the whole, negatively affected the development of societies. She said counselling helped victims to come to terms with their confessions; and added that forgiveness to perpetrators also helped victims to free their minds to live normal lives.

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