The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has requested for responses from four institutions in respect of a complaint lodged against them on violence and the death of some citizens during the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.
The responses from the Minister for the Interior, the Minister of Defence as well as the Inspector General of Police and the Chief of the Defence Staff, is to enable CHRAJ investigate a complaint lodged by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament for North Tongu and Ellembelle, Messrs Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah respectively.
In their complaint filed on August 21, 2021, the two MPs asked CHRAJ to investigate the electoral violence in the Techiman South, Odododiodio, Ablekuma Central, and Savelugu constituencies in the Bono East, Greater Accra, and Northern regions.
“The complainants herein bring this matter before the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice based on the Commission’s legal mandate to investigate the conduct of the security officers complained about in the instant petition in a timeous manner for justice to prevail for the victims and their families”, parts of the petition read.
The petition also added that “the complainants finally demand that the investigation identify the role played by the Ministers of the Interior and Defence in terms of instructions and orders in relation to the conduct resulting in this complaint, and the lack of leadership or proper oversight to prevent, stop or respond in a manner to curb the violations that have occurred”.
The MPs want disciplinary action as well as the prosecution of the officers that caused death and injuries during the polls as well as compensation for the victims or their representatives.
In its request for comments on the complaint, the Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr Joseph Whittal in a September 28, 2021 correspondence, said the request was in accordance with Regulation 3 (1) of the CHRAJ (Investigations Procedure) Regulation 2010 (C.I. 67.
It said the request for comments was pursuant to the special powers of investigations of the Commission under Section 14 (1) and (2) of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice Act 1993, Act 456, which provided that
(1) “Where the Commission decides to conduct an investigation under this Act, it shall give the authority or person concerned and to any other person who is alleged in the complaint to have taken or authorised the act or omission complained of, an opportunity to comment on the allegations contained in the complaint
(2) The representative of the authority or person concerned shall submit the comments of the authority or that person within the time specified by the Commission”.