Former President John Agyekum Kufuor says the setting up of the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) in 2001, helped to bring closure to atrocities committed during various military regimes. 

Mr Kufour said the motive behind the establishment of the Commission was to prevent victims of military atrocities from trying to take revenge.

“But the whole idea of reconciliation was to allow people to come out and speak out their pent up feelings so they wouldn’t be motivated to go and try to settle scores,” the former President told members of the Kufuor Scholars Program who had paid a courtesy call on him at his residence in Accra.

The Commission was formed after Mr Kufour had won the 2000 election and it covered human rights violations in the country from 1957 to 1993.

The goal of the commission was to establish an accurate, complete and historical record of violations and abuses of human rights inflicted on persons by public institutions and holders of public office during periods of unconstitutional government.

It looked into government abuses and military coups staged by former president Jerry Rawlings. The members of the Commission worked until the end of 2004.

He observed that even though compensation payment to victims was not done in full, the move was to set a baseline aimed at ensuring victims get justice.

“We returned some of the confiscated properties to their owners because the people were deprived of their assets, not through legal processes. But I know that some of the compensations, even as we speak, not all of them were paid.”

Touching on the overthrow of the government of Kofi Abrefa Busia and President Edward Akufo-Addo, the former President, who was part of that administration, partially blamed the occurrence on Parliamentarians at the time.

According to him, the MPs were unable to criticise the government and speak up on issues affecting the country.

“The thing that made it easier for the coup makers to succeed was that we members of government, Members of Parliament, we were not critical enough, we were not outspoken, we deferred too much to leadership. The 1972 government of which I was a member of, was overthrown.”