• Massive human rights abuses during Liberian civil war highlighted.
• “…Supreme Court in January 2011 threw out recommendation that 49 persons including President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf be banned from public office for 30 years.
• Efforts by CBL Governor Jones to empower Liberians part of 207 TRC recommendations.
• No findings from the report can be used to prosecute anybody in the court.
• Proposed ‘palava hut’ discussions to cement broken relationships.
Ninety percent of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) recommendations have been implemented by the Liberian government, the executive director of the Peace Building Office, Wilfred G. Johnson, has said.
At a phase two clarification of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights’ (INCHR) mandate on the TRC Recommendations held at the National Elections Commission (NEC) in Monrovia last Thursday, Mr. Johnson said the TRC report containing over 20,000 statements and 800 public hearings highlighted the massive human rights abuses during the Liberian civil war.
The Report, said Mr. Johnson, was not just about prosecuting people or banning people from holding public office but there are “tons” of TRC recommendations that are now being implemented.
According to Johnson, it was interesting to note that the Ministry of Finance and Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) were charged with the implementation of several TRC recommendations including the provision of micro-finance loans currently being implemented by CBL Governor Mills Jones.
He said the saddest thing was that no one has mentioned the TRC report during these implementations or upon presenting their reports to the INCHR to be submitted to President Sirleaf.
Johnson named free and compulsory primary education, women and children’s recovery and empowerment programs and political dialogue, among recommendations from the TRC report that are presently being implemented by line ministries and agencies.
The issue of psychosocial recovery and empowerment for persons with disabilities and the efforts by CBL Governor Jones to empower Liberians were part of TRC recommendations, said Mr. Johnson.
He said the TRC report does not only talk about prosecuting individuals indicted but also provides other benefits in relation to the growth of society, which 22 institutions are responsible for implementing.
“The report also recommended that a special court be established to prosecute people responsible for the 14 year civil crisis in Liberia and gave clemencies to 38 individuals who admitted to hideous crimes (in consideration of) their cooperation with the TRC process,” he explained.
He continued, “We have 49 persons that were banned from public office for 30 years, including President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf but the Supreme Court in January 2011 threw out that recommendation. And this report also said, in order to cement the broken relationships, there is a need to have ‘palava hut’ discussions.”
He recalled that the TRC report 16 says that no findings from the report can be used to prosecute anybody in the court, adding that there are 207 recommendations within the TRC report.
One recommendation of the TRC report which the Upper House has failed to pass into law stipulates that the three highest political parties or institutions must get funding from the national government.
According to Johnson, 42 of the recommendations are basically concepts intended to help foster good governance and accountability which are progressive in their implementation and therefore cannot be achieved over a short period time.
There are a few recommendations about settling obligations to people, including commissioners of the TRC being accorded security for 30 months and they and their families accorded the use of diplomatic passports for their life time.
Director Johnson noted that the TRC recommended that the Joseph J. Roberts Foundation be nationalized but it was difficult take the foundation from the United Methodist Church.
He named the National Investment Commission (NIC), Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI), Forestry Development Authority (FDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Land Commission (LC), and Ministry of Gender Economic and Development as some of the institutions listed to implement the recommendations in volume one and two, respectively, of the TRC.
Director Johnson further stated, “We have the Ministry of Labor, National Defense and the office of the President especially, the Child Protection and Public Apology that handle these issues from the President. The Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, Press Union of Liberia (PUL) and the National Legislature are also tasked to implement the TRC recommendations.”