General News of Fri, 16 Jan 200416

Rawlings Subpoena Defeats Reconciliation - Lawyers

Lawyers of Ex-president Jerry John Rawlings have expressed discomfort at reports that Mr. Rawlings has been summoned before the NRC to respond the various allegations of human rights abuses levelled against him. Chief Lawyer Benjamin Kumbour MP, told the Network Herald that in their opinion the subpoena would defeat the purpose of the reconciliation that the commission seeks to achieve.

He preferred that since the reconciliation process “is not strictly a legislative thing, compulsion may defeat the purpose of the reconciliation process.” Dr. Kumbour suggested that if Mr. Rawlings should appear at the commission, he should do so voluntarily to respond to the various allegations levelled against him “and not him being subpoenaed.”

As to why the former president has not as a sign of courtesy responded to the several invitations of the commission, the Lawra Nandom MP responded insisted that Mr. Rawlings had responded to all the invitations sent him by the commission but that there were a few which he had problems with.

However, according to him some of the requests had to be referred to the appropriate state institutions.

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Dr Kumbour explained that the ex-President has not yet appeared before the commission because he does not believe the commission would give him a fair deal. He says the ex-presidents suspects “he would be treated with kids gloves” if he appears before the commission.

The NRC, with the powers of a high court has announced that it would subpoena the ex-president to appear before it when he returns from a trip abroad.

Previous testimonies at the commission including that of journalist Kweku Baako Jnr have linked Rawlings to the 1982 murders of three high court judges and a former military officer.

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