Liberia: Deputy Speaker Differs With Scrutinizing the TRC Recommendations

Monrovia — Deputy House Speaker Fonati Koffa says establishing a War and Economic Crimes Court is not a decision that hinges solely on Liberia but international partners that participated in the Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) process.

The Liberian Senate last week concluded on the findings of the (TRC), which would later be sent to the House of Representatives by President George Weah.

The president is seeking recommendations from the House of Representatives on whether to establish a Transitional Justice Commission (TJC).

Weighing in on the matter, the Grand Kru lawmaker said such an approach could be done another way. "I think the attempt by the Senate was the right process with the wrong result. I think it's good that the House of Representatives has begun to seek the advice of experts, actors, activities of the TRC. Liberians are saying they are against impunity.

"When I envisioned a transitional justice commission, I envisioned one that will implement and create a road map to the implementation of the TRC. We know that the TRC was the participation of our international partners in terms of backing and there is a US congressional resolution 1056 that talks about the implementation of the TRC," he said.

The Deputy Speaker also warned against auditing the TRC. "We should not go back to auditing the TRC and its rationale, we should start from the implementation of the TRC. If I was to do a transitional justice commission it will be a commission that will set up a road map on how the TRC is implemented because that has become internationally acceptable," he said.

During the Senate debate much of the disPost Views: 3cussion centered on constitutionality, with most senators raising questions about the jurisdiction of the court if it is established in Liberia?

Will the provision of the constitution that makes the Supreme Court the final obiter of justice be amended?

In response to those concerns, the deputy speaker said, it cannot be done locally because of the constitutionality, adding that there is a need to find an international organization to help and that organization is the International Criminal court (ICC).

"If even we invite international participation in the setup of War and Economic crimes court it is a long process that will not happen overnight because you will have to put up all the legal and infrastructure safeguard necessary so for us to go two steps back to audit the TRC is not helping the Process," he said.

He is cautioning the House of Representatives to do theirs differently by bringing onboard the constituency and inviting international experts, which might include the US congressional committee and other international experts who might not necessarily agree with their decision.

"I think because I know it is going to take some time we should proceed immediately to solicit the input of our international partners under the auspices of congressional resolution 1056 to begin the implementation of the TRC."

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