Official handover of the final TRNUC report |01 April 2023
President commends TRNUC for “diligent” work
By Vidya Gappy
President Wavel Ramkalawan has commended the Truth, Reconciliation and National Unity Commission (TRNUC) for its work which he said has been done with diligence during the last three and half years as it strove to uncover the truth and to make its recommendations at the end.
President Ramkalawan made the remark after receiving a copy of the TRNUC’s final report yesterday at State House.
A copy of the report was also handed over to the National Assembly and made public as of yesterday.
The final TRNUC report was officially handed to President Ramkalawan by the chairperson of TRNUC, Gabrielle McIntyre, accompanied by the other members of the commission, namely Michael Green (vice-chairperson), Marie-Therese Purvis, Archbishop James Wong and Jacques Koui Gbilimou (commissioners).
“I am happy that the country has witnessed the coming to an end of another chapter in the history of Seychelles. For Seychelles to continue moving forward, we need to continue looking ahead, we are looking at democracy, and above all, we are looking at respect for the rule of law. As the Truth, Reconciliation and National Unity Commission this is what your role entailed; uncovering how the rule of law was not followed and how actions or decisions went beyond the rule of law. The disappearances, tortures, beatings, exiles and all the other victims, loss of businesses... All these were done outside the rule of law,” noted the Head of State.
President Ramkalawan also spoke about the establishment of this Commission back in 2018 and that it was a bipartisan act between the then two parties in the National Assembly and later on by former President Danny Faure in assenting to the Act to seek national unity. President Ramkalawan also underscored the need for every act to be done in accordance to the rule of law.
He also encouraged both the Commissioner of Police and the Chief of Defence Forces so that history does not repeat itself.
In her final speech as the chairperson of TRNUC, Mrs McIntyre noted that with the public release of the final report the Commission anticipates that it will be criticised and it accepts that such criticism is par for the course of the work of truth commissions the world over.
“It is criticism easily made regardless of its veracity. The Commission hopes that in examining the veracity of any criticism made attention will also be given to the motivation of the person making it.”
“The Commission is acutely aware that its final report will not satisfy every Seychellois. The Commission was a fact-finding body, mandated to investigate allegations of human rights violations related to the coup d’état of 1977. In some of the complaints brought before the Commission the subjective experiences and recollections of complainants were not confirmed by the objective investigations of the Commission and no human rights violation could be found established. In a small number of other cases the allegations made were found not to be related to the coup d’état of 1977 and as the allegation fell outside the mandate of the Commission no human rights violation could be found established.”
Mrs McIntyre shared that the Commission appreciates that “for these complainants the work of the Commission will be disappointing and may be perceived as a form of revictimisation. This was not the intention of the Commission. The Commission hopes that the public will understand that the Commission was not a panacea for every sense of unfairness or injustice felt by a Seychellois citizen and not every sense of injustice constitutes a human rights violation related to the coup d’état of 1977”.
But still many will applaud the report by TRNUC. “It is now the responsibility of the national leaders – those holding political power and those wanting that power – as well as religious leaders, civil society and others to embrace the reconciliatory ambitions of the Commission and to move forward with a shared understanding of the past towards a better future for all. The Commission hopes that its work will be used for the benefit of all Seychellois and not as a means of deepening the political divide in the service of party political interests.”
The final report of the TRNUC was made accessible to the public as of yesterday, March 31, 2023 and a copy was presented to the Speaker of the National Assembly Roger Mancienne.
Also present at the official handover of the report yesterday at State House were Vice-President Ahmed Afif; the leader of government business in the National Assembly, Bernard Georges; the Attorney General, Frank Ally; the Commissioner of Police, Ted Barbe; the Chief of Defence Forces, Brigadier Michael Rosette; deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Gervais Henrie; and the secretary of state for Cabinet Affairs, Mohammed Afif.
Photos by Joena Meme