23 July 2014

Liberia: UNMIL Chief Favors TRC Implementation

More than five years after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its final report and recommendations in which it indicted President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, former rebel leaders and some officials of her government, an esteemed member of the diplomatic community has called for the implementation of the TRC report.

Karin Landgren, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Liberia and Head of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), spoke about the need for the Liberian Government to implement the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's findings, five years after its release, suggesting that it is important to review progress in implementing its recommendations.

According to Frontpageafrica, last week Madam 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."

But the UNMIL Boss believes that in the same spirit, and as the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recommended in his most recent progress report on the United Nations Mission in Liberia, it is important that President Sirleaf resumes her quarterly reporting on progress in implementation of the TRC report, as mandated by the TRC Act, adding that a further important step would be the wide dissemination and accessibility of the Report and its recommendations in reader-friendly versions.

Madam Landgren said, it is necessary for the President to continue the quarterly report because Liberia continues to deepen its inclusive political culture and the rule of law, noting that it has adopted several national strategies that advance TRC recommendations, and foremost among these are the Strategic Roadmap for National Healing, Peacebuilding and Reconciliation, and the Agenda for Transformation.

Reports on international wires suggest that the U.S. government appears to be in agreement, interspersed by the Obama administration's May 2010 National Security Strategy: "From Nuremberg to Yugoslavia to Liberia, indicating that the United States has seen that the end of impunity and the promotion of justice are not just moral imperatives; they are stabilizing forces in international affairs."

According to the report, the United States is working to strengthen national justice systems and is maintaining support for ad hoc international tribunals and hybrid courts, such as the ones being advocated in Liberia some years back by Mulbah Morlu, now with the main opposition Congress for Democratic Change, who had been calling for the establishment of a war crimes court in the country.

"Those who intentionally target innocent civilians must be held accountable, and we will continue to support institutions and prosecutions that advance this important interest. Although the United States is not at present a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and will always protect U.S. personnel, we are engaging with State Parties to the Rome Statute on issues of concern and are supporting the ICC's prosecution of those cases that advance U.S. interests and values, consistent with the requirements of U.S. law," the Obama administration's May 2010 National Security Strategy stated.

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