Issued by: Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Yesterday's announcement by the Minister of Justice that the Cabinet has approved a proposal to extend the deadline for the presentation of the Commission's report to the President was made against the following background:
The Department of Justice has been drafting amendments to the law establishing the Commission which would allow the Amnesty Committee to continue to operate and complete its work after the Commission has closed down on July 31.
As in the original legislation, the amendment allowed the TRC a three-month period after the end of its activities in which to write the report. After carefully considering the draft amendments, the Commission adopted the principle.
The Commission will close down on schedule, on July 31, and All Commission work, except for report writing and amnesty proceedings, will end by June 30.
If Parliament approves the amendments, the Commission intends to consider and adopt a penultimate draft of the report before July 31. The extra three months will, therefore, be used only for the purposes of editing and production of the report, which is expected to run to 2,000 pages.
The Research Department, which is responsible for compiling the report, will use the extension to ensure that the contents of the report, which come from different committees, regions and units of the Commission, are properly integrated. It is especially concerned that the report contains an accurate summary of the circumstances of every person declared a victim of a gross violation of human rights in terms of the law, and since the TRC has collected about 21,000 statements from people saying they are victims, this will be an enormous task.