Seychelles’ truth and reconciliation commission: 7 persons petition for amnesty for involvement in 5 deaths
Seven people in Seychelles have petitioned for amnesty before the Truth and Reconciliation and National Unity Commission (TRNUC) for their involvement or participation in one or more crimes committed in relation to the 1977 coup d’état as well as later incidents involving state authorities or individuals in more recent history.
According to a recent press release from TRNUC, Jemmy Marengo, Francois Lesperance, Marc Pool, Roland Gertrude, Jose Hollanda, Alain Jeannevol and Ken Jean-Charles will appear before the commission for amnesty hearings from May 31 to June 2, for either their “involvement” or “participation” in the deaths of five people. Some of them were referred to by the TRNUC as “state agents”.
The victims are Michael Hoffman and Sonny Elizabeth, who died in 1983, Claude Monnaie died in 2003, Ricky Hermitte died in 2006 and Dhamendra Eulentin died in 2007. Also, Brian Victor experienced serious assault in the 1983 incident.
Three out of the four scheduled hearings will be held in sessions as requested by the victims’ families. The hearing scheduled for June 1 will be held in an open session. This will be the amnesty hearing relating to cases 205 and 207 which concern the death of a citizen that happened a few weeks after the truck in which he was sleeping was set on fire by state agents.
TRNUC was established in 2018 to work on settling past political divisions and grievances that were a result of the coup d’état in Seychelles on June 5, 1977.
According to the TRNUC Act 2018, “individuals who provide a full and frank disclosure of their culpable acts or omissions in relation to any human rights violation and offer sincere apologies to the victim or victims shall be granted an amnesty in relation to the acts or omissions that were part of the disclosure and apology.”
The Commission holds the authority to decide whether or not a perpetrator shall be granted amnesty.
The chairperson of the Commission, Gabrielle McIntyre, told SNA that the amnesty shall not affect any order by the Commission for remedies, reparations or rehabilitation.
“A petitioner who is not granted amnesty is liable to prosecution by the national authorities as is any person deemed a perpetrator by the commission who has not petitioned for amnesty,” said McIntyre.
As cases are completed, the Commission will be serving relevant perpetrators notifications and may hold additional amnesty hearings before its mandate comes to an end.
With the mandate ending in August this year, McIntyre also said that they intend to file the final TRNUC report on August 9.
“The Commission is in the process of determining its 364 cases and drafting the volumes of the final report. The final report will contain a number of volumes. In addition, the Commission will be submitting numerous recommendations at the end of its report. Once the report is submitted to the president, the Commission will spend up until the end of the calendar year getting its record in order and winding up its activities,” said McIntyre.
She said that the report will cover the challenges and obstacles the Commission has faced, as well as broad efforts made to implement its mandate and an overview of the evidence heard with the patterns that have emerged. It will include the determination of the complaints that have been filed and include its amnesty power and approach to its implementation, and will include a section on reparations.
To date, the TRNUC has completed 59 determinations, 68 have been circulated to the national commissioners and a further 95 are in draft form, with another 142 yet to be commenced.