Gabon Junta Mulls Truth And Reconciliation Commission

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Gabon’s transitional president, Brig Gen Brice Oligui Nguema, has hinted at the possible creation of a truth, justice and reconciliation commission to address atrocities in the country’s past.

The military junta “reserves the right to analyse the merits” of such a commission, he said to loud applause on Tuesday while opening a forum about the transition to civilian rule.

Gen Nguema and his military government are accused of excluding key opposition figures from these month-long talks, where more than 100 parties will debate a new constitution and a timeline for the transitional government.

His remarks about a truth process come amid growing calls for justice for 2016’s post-election violence when then-President Ali Bongo was controversially re-elected in disputed circumstances.

After a preliminary probe into the incident, prosecutors from the International Criminal Court decided not to pursue a formal investigation for crimes against humanity.

If Gabon’s military junta does decide to launch a truth, justice and reconciliation commission, it is likely to re-open painful wounds.

“The timeframe of a transition seems, to me, far too narrow to establish responsibility for each event,” said Gen Nguema on Tuesday. It is unclear if his statement is an indirect request for more time in power, or more time to get a commission up and running.

As things stand, elections have been promised for August next year.