Chief State Attorney urges AU Member States to chart reconciliation path

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Accra, Aug. 27, GNA – Mr William Kpobi, Chief State Attorney at the Attorney General’s Department, on Tuesday urged African Union (AU) Member States to chart the path of reconciliation in order to pave the way for peaceful governance.

“The principle to achieve peace within the context of the AU in transitional periods in the various Member States is a daunting task,” Mr Kpobi said at the opening of the Regional Consultation and Capacity Building Workshop on the Implementation of the AU Transitional Justice Policy (AUTJP) in Accra.

“Obviously in such transitional periods, the issue that comes up is whether to break with the past and start anew or to embody the past in the new in an acceptable or reconciliatory manner,” he said.

“Abuses of the past cannot be wished away. It must be confronted and dealt with to bring peace and harmony. It is only by so doing that the way forward can be peaceful.”

The two-day workshop, which is being attended by over 60 participants from 15 ECOWAS Member States, is being organised by the African Transitional Justice Legacy Fund (ATJLF) in collaboration with the AU Commission (AUC) with the support of the MacArthur Foundation, is to commence the popularisation of the AUTJP.

It is the first in a series of regional meetings to disseminate the AUTJP with the aim of promoting its effective implementation in the ECOWAS sub-region.

“Transitional matters if well-handled, obviously leads to a smooth implementation of governance. On the other hand, transitional periods if not well handled obviously leads to anarchy along the line,” Mr Kpobi stated.

“It is to forestall such anarchies in our sub-region and within the AU as a whole that this important workshop is being organised.”

He said the workshop was to ensure that the transitional justice policy of the AU becomes more visible by finding ways to make it popular and to sensitize the whole Africa for its successful implementation.

The Chief State Attorney recounted that Ghana had experienced several of such transitional periods; saying “and I am happy to say that in all, the good people of Ghana succeeded in charting the path of peace”.

He said all the Constitutions of Ghana promulgated after 1966, had a part known as “Transitional Provisions”, which seeks to bridge the gap between the old and the new regime, though not reconciliatory in nature.

He noted that however, in 2002, Parliament passed the National Reconciliation Commission Act, (Act 611) which was basically implemented to recommend appropriate redress for persons who had suffered any injury, hurt, damage, grievance or who had in any other manner been adversely affected by violations and abuses of their human rights from activities or inactivity of public institutions and persons holding public office during past regimes; declaring that “it was well implemented and the good results is there for all to observe”.

He said this was in conformity with the basic objective of the UJTP set up achieve for the whole Africa.

Mr Makmid Kamara, Director, ATJLF, said participants at the workshop would learn about the AUTJP with the view to ensure coherence on transitional justice interventions across Africa.

Furthermore participants to the workshop would map out effective implementation strategies for the AUTJP and provide states with a framework that would eventually contribute to peacebuilding, democracy building, constructive management of diversity and post-conflict reconstruction and development.

Madam Minata Samate Cessouma, Commissioner for Political Affairs, AUC, in a speech read on her behalf commended ECOWAS for taking the lead in embracing the AUTJP and commencing development of its own Strategy on the Policy; adding that “this practice is a true demonstration of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs)  being the building blocks of the AU”.

She reiterated the importance of the AUTJP in realizing the lofty ambitions of the AU Agenda 2063 – “The Africa We Want”.

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