NATIONAL RECONCILIATION COMMISSION ACT - 2002 (ACT 611)
(1) The Commission shall be composed of a chairperson and eight other members.
(2) The chairperson and the other members shall be appointed by the President in consultation with the Council of State.
(3) The President in appointing the members of the Commission, shall have regard to the integrity, sense of fairness and ability of the persons to achieve the object of the Commission as set out in section 3.
(4) The members shall be appointed as full-time officers for the duration of the Commission and shall be paid such remuneration as the Minister for Finance in consultation with the Public Services Commission shall determine.
(5) Where a vacancy occurs in the membership of the Commission because of dismissal, resignation, disability or death of a member, the President shall in consultation with the Council of State appoint another person to replace the member.
(6) A member of the Commission may resign membership by written notice to the President and may be removed from office by the President for inability to perform the functions assigned under this Act or for other stated reason.
(1) The object of the Commission is to seek and promote national reconciliation among the people of this country
(a) by establishing accurate, complete and historical record of violations and abuses of human rights inflicted on persons by public institutions and holders of public office or persons purporting to have acted on behalf of the State during periods of unconstitutional government, namely from
(i) 24th February, 1966 to 21st August, 1969;
(ii) 13th January, 1972 to 23rd September, 1979; and
(iii) 31st December, 1981 to 6th January, 1993; and
(b) by making recommendations to the President for redress of wrongs committed within the specified periods.
(2) Notwithstanding the periods specified in subsection (1)(a), the Commission may, on an application by any person, pursue the object set out in subsection (1) in respect of any other period between 6th March 1957 and 6th January, 1993.
For the purposes of attaining its object, the Commission shall
(a) investigate violations and abuses of human rights relating to killings, abductions, disappearances, detentions, torture, ill-treatment and seizure of properties suffered by any person within specified periods;
(b) investigate the context in which and the causes and circumstances under which the violations and abuses occurred and identify the individuals, public institutions, bodies, organizations, public office holders or persons purporting to have acted on behalf of any public body responsible for or involved in the violations and abuses;
(c) identify and specify the victims of the violations and abuses and make appropriate recommendations for redress;
(d) investigate and determine whether or not the violations and abuses were deliberately planned and executed by the state or any person referred to in paragraph (b);
(e) conduct investigations relevant to its work and seek the assistance of the police and any public or private institution, body or person for the purposes of an investigation;
(f) investigate any other matters which it considers requires investigation in order to promote and achieve national reconciliation; and
(g) educate the public and give sufficient publicity to its work so as to encourage the public to contribute positively to the achievement of the object of the Commission.
(1) The Commission shall be inaugurated within two weeks of the appointment of its members and shall operate for a period not exceeding 12 months from the date of its first hearing except that, for good cause shown by the Commission, the President may by executive instrument extend the term of the Commission for a further period not exceeding six months.
(2) The Commission shall upon its inauguration undertake preparatory activities that it considers necessary for the public to become aware of its functions.
(1) The Commission shall meet at times and places it considers necessary.
(2) The chairperson shall preside at meetings of the Commission and in the absence of the chairperson the members present shall elect one of their member to preside.
(3) The quorum at a meeting of the Commission shall be five members which shall include the chairperson or the member acting for the chairperson.
(4) Decisions of the Commission shall, as far as possible, be taken by consensus and in the absence of consensus, by the majority vote of the members, except that where there is a tie in the votes the chairperson shall have a casting vote.
(5) Where a member of the Commission discovers during any meeting or proceedings of the Commission that the member has or may have a financial or personal interest in the matter before the Commission which is likely to cause a conflict of interest for that member,
(a) the member shall make a full disclosure of the nature of interest and shall not be present during the discussion of or participate in a decision on the matter; and
(b) the disclosure shall be entered in the record of proceedings.
(6) A member who does not comply with subsection (5), is liable to be removed from the Commission.
(7) The Commission shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, regulate its proceedings.
(1) The Commission may appoint committees, consisting of persons who are or are not members of the Commission, to perform a function of the Commission assigned to the committee by the commission.
(2) A committee of the Commission shall be chaired by a member of the Commission.
(3) Section 19 applies to a non-member of the Commission appointed under subsection (1) to a committee of the Commission with such modifications as may be necessary.
(1) The Commission shall, in the performance of its functions, be independent and not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority.
(2) The members and staff of the Commission shall, notwithstanding any personal opinion, preference or party affiliation, serve impartially and independently and perform the duties of office in good faith and without fear, favour, bias or prejudice.
(1) The Commission shall establish in the Commission an investigation unit to which the Commission shall, for the purposes of achieving its object, assign any investigative duties the Commission shall determine.
(2) The staff requirements of the investigation unit shall be determined by the Commission
(3) The investigation unit shall have the responsibility of gathering information from persons who claim to be victims of violations and abuses of human rights within the specified periods or from their representatives.
The Commission shall, for the purposes of investigations,
(a) have access to any information and records that relate to the performance of the functions of the Commission;
(b) visit any establishment or place in order to conduct investigations;
(c) question any person in respect of a subject matter under investigation by the Commission;
(d) require a person to disclose truthfully any information within that person's knowledge relevant to a subject matter under investigation by the Commission;
(e) require a person to
(i) furnish any information;
(ii) produce any document or article in whatever form which in the opinion of the Commission relates to an investigation under this Act and which is in the possession or control of that person.
(1) The Commission shall have the powers of the police for the purposes of entry, search, seizure and removal of any document or article relevant to any investigation under this Act.
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), the Commission or a person authorised by the Commission may
(a) with the consent of the occupier of the premises enter, search, seize and remove any document or article; or
(b) where in the opinion of the Commission obtaining a warrant will defeat the purpose of the entry, seizure and removal of any article relevant to the investigations, enter, search, seize and remove the document or article without a warrant except that the warrant shall be obtained within twenty-four hours of the search, seizure and removal.
(3) A document, article or information obtained by the investigation unit shall not be made public unless authorised by the Commission.
(1) The proceedings of the Commission shall be held in public except that the Commission may for good cause have private hearings.
(2) A person may apply to the Commission to have any hearing that involves that person to be held in private and the application itself shall be heard in private by the Commission.
(3) The Commission shall in all its proceedings both in private and public permit the presence of the victim in the matter and such other persons whose presence the Commission considers necessary.
(4) Where proceedings are held in private, the Commission shall direct that,
(a) no information from the proceedings shall be made public;
(b) a person shall not disclose the identify of a witness in the proceedings;
(c) records of proceedings be kept in such manner as to protect the identity of a witness,
except that the Commission may for good reason direct otherwise.
For the purposes of the conduct of its proceedings, the Commission shall have power
(a) to require any person to disclose truthfully, any information within the knowledge of that person and which is relevant to the proceedings;
(b) to examine any witness on oath or affirmation and to administer the oath or affirmation.
(c) to issue subpoenas requiring the attendance of a person before the Commission and require the production of any article, documents or other record relevant to the proceedings;
(d) to cause any person who refuses to comply with an order or directives of the Commission or acts in any manner contemptuous of the Commission to be charged with contempt of court and for that person to be tried at the High Court; and
(e) to require a person to fill a form providing such information and within such period as shall be specified in the form.
(1) Subject to subsection (2), in any proceedings before the Commission a person called as a witness shall be compelled to produce any document or article and to answer any question with regard to the subject matter of the proceedings notwithstanding that the document, article or answer may incriminate that person.
(2) Where a person gives incriminatory evidence under subsection (1) the evidence shall not be used in any criminal or civil proceedings against that person.
(1) Any person who has been subpoenaed or called to appear before the Commission at a hearing of the Commission may be represented by a lawyer.
(2) The Commission may, in order to expedite proceedings, place reasonable limitations with regard to the time allowed in respect of the cross-examination of a witness or any address to the Commission.
(3) The Commission may appoint a lawyer to act on behalf of a person appearing before it if it is satisfied that that person is not financially capable of appointing a lawyer and if it is of the opinion that it is in the interest of justice that that person be represented by a lawyer.
(4) A person referred to in subsection (1) shall be informed of the right to be represented by a lawyer.
(1) Subject to section 12, the Commission shall, with due regard to the purposes of this Act and the object and functions of the Commission, decide to what extent, if at all, the identity of any person who made an application under this Act or gave evidence at the hearing of such application or at any other inquiry or investigation under this Act may be disclosed in any report of the Commission.
(2) Any person who believes that his or her safety may be jeopardized by a disclosure made under section 4 in the course of any investigation by the Commission, may request the Commission to take such measures as it considers adequate for his or her protection.
(1) A member of the Commission and every member of the staff of the Commission shall, with regard to
(a) any matter dealt with by the Commission or that member of staff; or
(b) information which comes to the Commission's or member of staff's knowledge in the performance of the functions or duties of the Commission or of the member of staff,
preserve and assist in the preservation of those matters which are confidential in terms of the provisions of this Act or which have been declared confidential by the Commission.
(2) A person holding office or appointment under the Commission who is likely to have access to confidential information of the Commission shall before proceeding to carry out the functions under this Act, take or subscribe to the Oath of Secrecy set out in the Second Schedule to the Constitution.
(3) The Commission shall determined the category of persons to whom subsection (2) of this section shall apply.
(4) A member of the Commission shall not, except
(a) for the purpose of the exercise of the powers;
(b) the performance of the functions;
(c) the carrying out of the duties of office;
(d) when required by a court of law to do so; or
(e) under any law,
disclose to any person any information acquired by the member by reason of being a member of the Commission.
(5) Subject to subsection (4) and section 18, a person shall not disclose or make known any information that is confidential by virtue of any provision of this Act.
(6) A person who is not authorised by the Commission shall not have access to any information that is confidential by virtue of this Act.
(7) Subject to the Public Records and Archives Administration Act, 1997 (Act 535), the Commission shall, upon the conclusion of its work, give directions as to the treatment, storage, safe-keeping and disposal of any information, material, record or document collected, gathered or used by it in the course of its work.
(8) A member of the Commission shall not
(a) through association, statement, conduct or in any other manner jeopardize the independence or harm the credibility, impartiality or integrity of the Commission;
(b) make use of or profit from any confidential information gained as a result of membership of the Commission; or
(c) divulge any information relating to the work of the Commission to any other person except in the course of the performance of the functions of the member.
(9) A member of the Commission who contravenes any of the provisions of subsection (8) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding 500 penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 2 years or to both.
(1) The Commission shall within three months of the conclusion of its work submit its report to the President.
(2) The report shall comprise the findings and recommendations of the commission and shall among others;
(a) provide proper documentation and establish the nature and causes of the serious violations and abuses of the human rights of persons;
(b) provide an accurate historical record of matters investigated by the Commission;
(c) identify the victims of violations and abuses of human rights;
(d) recommend the appropriate response to the specific needs of each victim or group of victims;
(e) suggest measures to prevent and avoid the repetition of such violations and abuses;
(f) recommend reforms and other measures whether legal political, administrative or otherwise needed to achieve the object of the Commission;
(g) promote healing and reconciliation; and
(h) the setting up of a reparation and rehabilitation fund.
(3) The Commission shall, after the submission of its report, cease to exist on a date determined by the President by publication in the Gazette.
A member of the Commission and member of staff of the Commission, or a person who performs a task on behalf of the Commission, shall not be liable in respect of anything contained in any report, finding, point of view or recommendation made or expressed in good faith under this Act.
(1) A person who
(a) in anticipation of any finding of the Commission relating to an investigation, acts in a manner calculated to influence the Commission's proceedings or findings;
(b) does anything calculated to influence improperly the Commission in respect of any matter being or to be considered by the Commission in connection with an investigation;
(c) does anything in relation to the Commission which, if done in relation to a court of law, would constitute contempt of court;
(d) without lawful justification or excuse, wilfully obstructs, hinders or resists the Commission, any member or member of the staff of the Commission in the exercise, performance or carrying out of the powers, functions or duties under this Act;
(e) wilfully makes any false statement to or misleads or attempts to mislead the Commission or any other person in the exercise, performance or carrying out of the powers, functions or duties under this Act;
(f) without lawful justification or excuse, refuses or wilfully fails to comply with any lawful request of the Commission, a member or any other person under this Act;
(g) having been subpoenaed under this Act, without sufficient cause fails to attend at the time and place specified in the subpoena, or fails to remain in attendance until the conclusion of the meeting in question or until excused from further attendance by the person presiding at that meeting, or fails to produce any article in that person's possession or custody or under that person's control;
(h) having been subpoenaed under this Act, without sufficient cause refuses to be sworn or to make affirmation as a witness or fails or refuses to answer fully and satisfactorily to the best of that person's knowledge any question lawfully put to that person;
(i) fails to perform any act as required in terms of this Act;
(j) discloses any confidential information in contravention of any provision of this Act; or
(k) destroys any document or article relating to or in anticipation of any investigation or proceedings in terms of this Act,
commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding 500 penalty units, or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 2 years or to both.
(1) The Commission shall maintain proper books of accounts and other records of account in a form determined by the Auditor-General.
(2) The Commission shall not later than three months after it has submitted its report, submit to the Auditor-General, its books and records of account.
(3) The Auditor-General shall not later than three months after the receipt of the books and records of account of the Commission under subsection (2), audit the books and records of account, prepare an audit report and submit the audit report to the Attorney General who shall lay it before Parliament.
(4) The Auditor-General may issue instructions regarding the conduct of the audit or conduct of a supplementary audit.