-War Crimes Court Included?
After sustained pressure from the International Community over the establishment of a War Crimes Court in Liberia, considered a key issue in current discussions concerning the granting of considerable financial support to the Liberian Government, the George M. Weah administration has scheduled a big meeting (high level) of institutions from the three branches of government, which are, in one way or another, responsible for the implementation of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
According to documents in the possession of the Daily Observer, the meeting is being organized for Ministries, Agencies and Commissions (MACs) as well as the Legislature and the Judiciary to provide fresh updates on the status of their assigned recommendations and to review and validate a draft report (undisclosed) to be submitted to the President of Liberia for its first report to the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate of the 54th Legislature on the current state of the TRC recommendations.
The High-level meeting is being held directly under the auspices of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) and will convene at a local resort in Monrovia on Thursday, August 30, 2018, beginning at 10am.
On Saturday, August 18, 2018, which marked the 3rd Special Session of the House of Representatives, the lawmakers voted to receive the invitation from the INCHR and have agreed for either Speaker Dr. Bhofal Chambers or a representation of the Speaker, and Representative Dorwohn T. Gleekia, Chairman of the Committee on Peace, Religion & National Reconciliation, to represent the Lower House.
“As you may be aware, the INCHR serves as the inheritor of the TRC process and bears the mandate to follow up on the implementation of the TRC recommendations and draft the President’s reports to the Legislature on the status of the recommendations in consonance with the Articles 10 and 18.7 of the Legislative Act that established the TRC.
Also, Section 4.4 of the same Act requires the President of Liberia to provide quarterly updates to the Legislature on the implementation of the TRC recommendations,” the acting chair of INCHR, Rev. Atty. Batholomew Colley, said in his communication to the Legislature.
He added: “The purpose of the planned meeting is to, therefore, accord all responsible MACs involved with the TRC process the opportunity to provide fresh status updates on the TRC recommendations they are specifically implementing and jointly review and validate the draft report prepared by the INCHR with the incorporation of any new information.
The meeting will also discuss how these duty-hearing entities can further strengthen collaboration to maximize progress in achieving their individual and collective tasks,” the communication from the INCHR said.
The Liberia Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its final report on June 30, 2009 following three years of intensive work, which included the gathering of 20,000 statements and the conduct of 800 public hearings in Liberia and the Diaspora, to determine the root causes, nature and effects of the 14-year Liberian civil conflict.
The report proffered 207 recommendations covering a broad spectrum of thematic aspects as focus of the country’s transitional justice undertaking. These recommendations can be compacted into four major categories: Historicity and Memorialization; Reparations; Prosecution and Lustration; and Reconciliation.
The report strategically apportioned responsibility of the implementation of the recommendations to various government and national institutions whose statutory mandates have bearings on the recommendations
The Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR), in consonance with Article 10 and Article 18.7 of the Act of Legislature that created the TRC, not only serves as the inheritor of the TRC process, but also has the responsibility to follow up on the implementation of all recommendations of the TRC.
Additionally, the INCHR is required to prepare draft reports for the President of Liberia and the status of the recommendations for subsequent submission to the Legislation. Section 4.4 of the TRC Act obligates the President to make quarterly progress reports to the Legislature on the implementation of the TRC recommendations.
In this respect, the INCHR has been engaging the relevant Ministries, Agencies and Commissions (MACs) for updates on the level of progress they have made in implementation of the recommendations assigned to them. It is important to note that these engagements, including the high-level meeting of December 20, 2016 enabled the INCHR to gather additional updates on the status of a few of the recommendations.
The Commission has been endeavoring to keep the process alive and on course. Currently, there are draft reports which require review and validation before submission to the President of Liberia to constitute his first report to the Legislature on the status of the TRC recommendations.