The Inquirer (Monrovia)

Liberia: TRC Chairman Challenges Statement Takers

The Chairman of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Cllr. Jerome Verdier has challenged individuals serving as statement takers for the commission to be true and symbolic characters of nationalism and patriotism in the discharge of their duties.

Speaking last Friday at the commission's headquarters in Sinkor during a commission ceremony of statement takers, the TRC boss admonished his co-workers to see their service as a call to national duty and as such their work should be characterized by a high degree of nationalism and patriotism.

Cllr. Verdier urged the statement takers to do all within their power to do the right thing and not yield to any influence; be it political, economic, tribal, ethnic or blood relationship.

"You have no side in the job that you are going to do out there. You got to maintain your independence, and respect the victims, perpetrators or the witnesses that you will come across. Establish friendly relationship with those who will come forward with their statements or testimonies as regard the conflict. The process will be rough and difficult but you have to be over-zealous and committed to the job," Cllr. Verdier told the statement takers.

The TRC boss further told the statement takers to always uphold with confidentially statements from people testifying what ensued during the war; adding "you don't have to disclose your work to anyone but the TRC. You also don't have to manufacture or create statements against anyone. We told you to collect four statements per day but that doesn't mean that you should create statements by yourself. Try to get factual statements from people; because for every statement we get from you will be verified."

Speaking further, the TRC boss disclosed that the entire statement taking would last for five months but the statement takers were going into the 15 counties for a period of two weeks following which time their performances will be evaluated by the commission. "Those who will not put out good performances during the course of two weeks will be dropped."

The statement takers are expected to leave Monrovia for their respective assigned areas beginning today.

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