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Uncovering Truth: Ghana’s National Reconciliation Commission Excavation of Past Human Rights Abuses

Ameh, Robert Kwame
June 4, 2015

Source: (2006) Contemporary Justice Review. 9(4): pp. 345-368

A key mandate of all truth and reconciliation commissions (TRCs) is to ascertain the truth about past injustices and to establish accurate records of violations and abuses. But truth has different connotations to diverse people and is often applied variously. So, how do TRCs uncover the truth surrounding a case of past human rights abuse? But what is truth? More specifically, how did Ghana’s National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) ascertain the truth in the cases that came before it? These are the key questions addressed in this paper, which is based on interviews with members and key staff of NRC, analysis of parliamentary debates and media coverage of the reconciliation exercise, and a two-month observation of the NRC. The paper concludes that the specific yet flexible mandate of the NRC, the standard of proof adopted, the elaborate information management process, and the internal control mechanisms put in place favorably positioned the NRC to ascertain truth regarding the cases it deliberated.

(author’s abstract)


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