Commissioners and senior staff of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), held a three-day working meeting to prepare for the start of hearings on January 7th 2019.
The meeting was held in the Commission’s conference room at a local Resort in Kololi from December 10th to 12th 2018.
During the three-day intensive meeting and in line with the provisions of Section 21 of the TRRC Act, 2017, the Commission’s Legal Team in collaboration with the Research and Investigations Unit, guided Commissioners on the development of Rules of Procedure for the TRRC. In particular, the Legal Team guided the Commission’s conversations on Complaints Procedure, Admissibility of Complaints, Conduct of Investigations, and Hearings. At the end of the meeting, a broad outline of Rules of Procedure was agreed upon and is being currently drafted by the Legal Team for final adoption by Commissioners.
In line with the provisions of Section 18 of the TRRC Act 2017, a number of subsidiary committees were established during the three-day meeting. The committees set up were the Human Rights Violations Committee, Amnesty Committee, Reparations Committee, Child Protection and Sexual and Gender-based Violence Committee, and Reconciliation Committee. All but one of these committees have five commissioners as members, except one that has six members. All commissioners sit on at least two of the committees. Each committee will meet at least once before January 7th to develop specific terms of reference in line with the provisions of the TRRC Act.
An outline of a 12-month work-plan for the Commission was developed and is being drafted. The work-plan indicates the number of possible hearings to be conducted during 2019 and the specific areas of focus for these hearings. It will include a number of projected outreach activities for the year 2019.
Meanwhile, the TRRC calls on all Victims of Human Rights Violations in 1994, to come to the TRRC Headquarters at the Dunes Resort in Kololi, and share their statements; that if they are unable to come to the TRRC Headquarters, they may call 9348929 or 2949170, and arrangements will be made to take their statements; that if anyone has any information on the 1994 Human Rights violations that will be helpful to the TRRC, is encouraged to come to their offices or call the two numbers above. The TRRC indicates that victims or witnesses who wish to provide statements or other information related to the 1994 violations, are advised to do so as soon as possible, in order not to miss the opportunity of doing so once the research and investigations focus moves away from 1994; that they will be sharing more phone numbers with the public and conducting outreach exercises to reach out to those who cannot call or come to the TRRC headquarters. The Commission informs the public that giving statements to the TRRC is free of charge to all victims and witnesses; that this time, hearing-related logistics are being finalized at their headquarters; that the main hall is being fitted with the necessary audio-visual equipment and witness protection mechanisms; that two dry runs of the equipment are planned before the start of hearings on January 7.
The TRRC informs the public that all public hearings of the Commission are free and open to the public; that media accreditation will be issued to two journalists from each media house, who have attended one or more of their five transitional justice training workshops for journalists conducted over the past several months.
Again, the TRRC said they seek the nation’s support and blessings as they embark upon this challenging task of truth-seeking, justice, and healing, this coming New Year.