Search  
Parents. The Anti-Drug.    
Good Morning America World News Tonight 20/20 Primetime Nightline WNN This Week
March 22, 2003
 
HOMEPAGE
NEWS SUMMARY
US
INTERNATIONAL
MONEYScope
WEATHER
LOCAL NEWS
ENTERTAINMENT
ESPN SPORTS
SCI / TECH
POLITICS
HEALTH
TRAVEL
FEATURED SERVICES
RELATIONSHIPS
SHOPPING
DOWNLOADS
WIRELESS
INTERACT
VIDEO & AUDIO
BOARDS
CHAT
NEWS ALERTS
CONTACT ABC
Great Skiing and Riding! (Ad Served by Mediaplex)
S.Africa's Last White Pres. Rejects Truth Report

Reuters


Print This Page
Email This Page
See Most Sent
EXCLUSIVE: Secret Exile Plan for Saddam?
Marines Get Warm Welcome in Iraqi Town
How Do You Feel About the War?
March 22

By Darren Schuettler

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's last white president F.W. de Klerk rejected on Saturday a truth commission report on his role in apartheid-era rights abuses and said the commission's reconciliation campaign had failed.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its final report on Friday, ending a nearly seven-year probe into murder, torture and political crimes committed by all sides during more than four decades of white-minority rule. The TRC heard from thousands of victims of gross human rights violations, but most of the apartheid state's top leaders shunned the process as a witchhunt.

"The TRC process did not achieve its objective of establishing the full truth related to the conflict of the past and ... it has not promoted reconciliation in South Africa as intended," de Klerk's office said in a statement.

De Klerk, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela in 1993 for negotiating the transition to a democratic South Africa, filed suit in 1998 to force the TRC to black out findings that he knew of rights abuses.

After lengthy negotiations, the TRC agreed to some changes in the final report but published a key finding that de Klerk knew of the 1988 bombing of a church group office which had been authorized by the apartheid government.

"He (de Klerk) did not want to continue with the court action and even though he is displeased with the report, he did not want to delay it," said his spokesman Dave Steward.

The August 31, 1988 bombing of Khotso House, the Johannesburg headquarters of the South African Council of Churches which grouped several churches opposed to apartheid, demolished the building and injured 21 people.

"INDEFENSIBLE," SAYS TRUTH COMMISSION

During TRC hearings, top apartheid police officers implicated former president P.W. Botha as having personally ordered the attack and cast doubt on claims by his successor de Klerk that his hands were clean.

De Klerk told the TRC in 1996 and 1997 that neither he nor his colleagues in cabinet and the state security council had authorized assassinations, torture or other rights abuses.

But the TRC's final report said former police commissioner General Johan van der Merwe had told de Klerk of the order to bomb Khotso House.

It said de Klerk's testimony was indefensible and ... "he failed to make a full disclosure of the involvement of senior members of the government and the South African police in the bombing of Khotso House."

De Klerk's office said he only became aware of the police role in the bombing toward the end of his 1989-1994 presidency and long after the attack occurred.

"It was and remains Mr. de Klerk's opinion that the Khotso House bombing was outrageous and reprehensible, but did not constitute a gross violation of human rights in terms of the TRC Act," it said.

Botha, who ruled South Africa from 1978 until replaced by reformer de Klerk in 1989, has consistently denied any wrongdoing during his rule.

Copyright 2003 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
 
Sponsored by Alamo
  RELATED STORIES
International Index
More Raw News
 
 INTERNATIONAL HEADLINES
Airstrikes Resume in Iraq
France Working on Saddam Exile Deal?
Could Saddam's Elite Troops Be Defecting?
Marines Get Warm Welcome in Iraqi Town
U.S. Firepower in the Persian Gulf

 


Copyright 2003 ABCNEWS Internet Ventures.
Click here for:  HELP   ADVERTISER INFO   CONTACT ABC   TOOLS   PR   TERMS OF USE   PRIVACY POLICY

Family of sites:      ABC.com        ABC Family        ESPN.com        Disney.com        FamilyFun.com        GO Mail        Movies.com