The Politics of Reconciliation: The Competing Demands of Human Rights, Justice, Truth, and Reconciliation in Ghana

Robert Kwame Ameh, University of New Brunswick

Ghana is one of the few countries in Sub-Saharan Africa that has enjoyed a relatively long period of political stability. Yet, like other countries in the sub-region, Ghana has had its share of political conflict in the past characterized by injustices, atrocities, and human rights violations. True to its electoral promise in the run-up to the 2000 elections, the current ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) has since passed a Reconciliation Bill and named members of a Reconciliation Commission, which may soon start its work. The task of the Commission is to investigate past injustices, atrocities, and human rights violations; ascertain the truths of these; seek justice; and reconcile the nation. But, can a Reconciliation Commission resolve the competing demands of human rights, justice, truth, and reconciliation? Enmeshed in controversy even before the start of its work, can the Ghana Reconciliation Commission achieve its objectives? Based on a comprehensive literature review and content analysis of media reports of the controversy generated by the passing of the bill, this preliminary investigation on the quest for reconciliation in Ghana addresses these two questions and aims at contributing to the literature on peacemaking criminology, restorative justice, and conflict resolution.

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Updated 05/20/2006