OCNC report: "If recommendations are implemented, it will be the beginning of a new era of Peace" - ANP Chair
"The title 'In the name of Peace' reflects the recognition that our people, claiming truth and justice, have decided to deal with their difficult past, it translates a strong symbolism and carries all the aspirations of the Guinean people and society in their longing stability, national harmony, solidarity, fraternity, promotion of serious and frank dialogue, recognition of guilt and the value of forgiving truth and justice, transforming Guinea Bissau into a space for reconciliation with its history, accepting to take over the past, organize the present and prepare the future for generations to come. "said Father Domingos da Fonseca, president of COCN in his speech handing over the report.
The Chair of the ANP, Cipriano Cassamá, thanked the work of the COCN and said that if its recommendations were implemented "it will be the opening of a new era of peace for Guinean society, overcoming hatred and the desire for revenge and the end of human rights violations, the unexplained deaths that have been inflicted on our fellow citizens since independence to the present day. "
The report contains many conclusions and recommendations including different models of reconciliation processes already tried in other parts of the world for the participants of the National Conference, which will have to choose the most appropriate mechanism for Guinea-Bissau to finally deal with serious violations of human rights and the impunity that the country has experienced during its different periods of political instability.
The document also identifies the problems that Guineans consider most pressing and the causes behind the constant political and institutional instability (political assassinations, coups d'état), and covers the recommendations made by the populations surveyed on the priority reforms of the State, such as security sector reform, justice and administration.
During about 10 years of consultations work, between 2007 and 2017, the Commission, which was created in 2007, by resolution of the National People's Congress (ANP) and is composed of 32 members of all social sensibilities of the country - religious, political and social - heard over 3,000 people from all walks of life in the country, including civil society activists, heads of public institutions, members of religious communities, actors in the Defense and Security sector, and the judiciary, not forgetting the media, women's and youth organizations.
"In this reconciliation conference, in this process of national reconciliation that is being led by some national entities and with the support of UNIOGBIS, we believe that the most important is the search for a model of justice that is effectively capable of investigating, try the crimes committed. Nothing justifies taking a human life, "says Nelvina Barreto, a Guinea-Bissau activist, who continues to seek truth and justice for her father, Nicandro Pereira Barreto, who was murdered on August 22, 1999 for political reasons.
The COCN does not provide definitive options on how to deal with past cases, it will be up to the delegates of the National Conference to decide, but it presents four possible scenarios: doing nothing; decide on a process of amnesty; to opt for national, international or mixed judicial mechanisms, to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, or to establish a mechanism that brings together elements of all the options above, combining, for example, the search for truth in all cases, bringing to court only a few more serious crimes and offer amnesty to those who tell the truth.