SRSG Emphasizes TRC Report Implementation

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The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General to Liberia, Karin Landgren, has underscored the need for the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) final report.

Landgren, in a statement, said implementing the report will ensure justice, economic progress and reconciliation in the post-war country.

“Five years after the TRC report, it is important to review progress in implementing its recommendations,” Ms. Karin Landgren said.

On 10 March 2010, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in her first quarterly report to the Legislature on progress in implementation of the recommendations of the TRC, highlighted the importance of the TRC report, calling it “essential for achieving justice, reconciliation and continued economic, social and political rehabilitation of Liberia.” 

Ms. Landgren added: “As Liberia continues to deepen its inclusive political culture and the rule of law, it has adopted several national strategies that advance TRC recommendations.”

Foremost among these, she said, are the Strategic Roadmap for National Healing, Peace building and Reconciliation, and the Agenda for Transformation.

Other related reform initiatives Ms. Landgren noted included economic empowerment and poverty reduction, the National Palaver Hut Programme, the Whistle Blower Act of 2012, decentralization of political and economic power, constitutional review, justice sector reform, police reform, promotion of good governance and the rule of law, and  the establishment of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights.

However, she noted that a number of the TRC recommendations have not been acted upon, including prosecution for grave human rights violations and economic crimes committed during the conflict.

Ms. Landgren said that the Palaver Hut mechanism is the only current effort that foresees some form of justice, using traditional mechanisms to address low level crimes and has no jurisdiction over grave human rights violations committed during the conflict.

“The Agenda for Transformation recognizes that true reconciliation in Liberia is currently hindered by inadequate accountability for human rights violations committed during the civil war – and this all needs to be addressed,” she noted.

On 26 June 2014, Ms. Landgren said the Liberian government held a round-table discussion to collect views on the enactment of war crimes legislation, including domestication of the Geneva Conventions and the Rome Statute. 

“Along with the ongoing efforts to reform the criminal justice system, which shows the Government’s clear commitment to the principle that there should be no impunity for war crimes and massive human rights violations,” she indicated.

She also noted that sustaining that commitment is crucial for durable reconciliation.

She, however, pointed as noted by the UN Secretary-General’s recommendation in his most recent progress report on the United Nations Mission in Liberia, “It is important that the President resumes her quarterly reporting on the progress in the implementation of the TRC report, as mandated by the TRC Act.”

A further important step she said would be the wide dissemination and accessibility of the Report and its recommendations in reader-friendly versions.

As the President stated in her first quarterly report, Ms. Landgren said, “The Report needs to be read thoroughly by all Liberians as the nation moves forward; public understanding of the content of the report and progress in its implementation would contribute to informed engagement and an environment of genuine reconciliation and national healing.”

On 30 June 2009, at the end of a three-year process in which Liberians of all walks of life were engaged, Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its Consolidated Final Report.

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