Liberia: Senate Begins Public Hearing On Its Leadership Recommendations On The Truth & Reconciliation Report On Wednesday

President of the Liberia National Bar Association, Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe and Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus, Solicitor General, Former TRC Commissioner, Cllr. Pearl Brown Bull and War Crimes Court Advocate Hassan Bility are some experts to appear before the Senate to render opinion on the recommendations

MONROVIA – President of the Liberian National Bar Association, Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe and Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus, Solicitor General of the Republic of Liberia will on Wednesday appear before the Liberian Senate to give their legal opinion on the recommendations made by the Senate based on President George Weah’s request for advice on the implementation of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Report.

Cllr. Pearl Brown Bull, a former Commissioner of the TRC who dissented to the final Report and Mr. Hassan Bility, Executive Director of Global Justice and Research Project are also scheduled to appear on Thursday.

Accordingly, the Senate disclosed that the invitees will appear to provide their views and expert opinions on the recommendations of the Leadership as it relates to the setting up of a Transitional Justice Commission (TJC) to perform the below task, which should include, but not limited to the following:

To determine whether the TRC fully complied with its statutory mandate, such as face to face meeting between perpetrators of crimes and other offenses and their respective victims;

To determine why the TRC Recommendations have not been fully and timely implemented;

To examine the effect of the August 2003 Act of the Legislature, which granted general amnesty to all participants in the Liberian civil crisis;

To analyze credibility/legitimacy issues surrounding the Final Report of the TRC in respect of the fact that two (2) of the Commissioners did not sign the Final Report, but instead presented a dissenting report;

To examine the effect of the ratification/accession of Liberia to the Rome Statute in 2004 (after the end of the Liberian civil crisis) on the establishment of a War Crimes Court;

To consider the separation of the establishment of a War Crimes Court, which has international dimension, from the establishment of an Economic Crimes Court, which already exists within Liberia’s Judiciary and for which prosecution can take place using domestic laws;

To consider the effect of the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia and other legal implications of prosecuting war crimes at a War Crimes Court, when domestic laws and criminal courts for the same offenses exist and to also consider the Constitutional implications of appeals from decisions of the War Crimes Court, as the Constitution provides that the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of all legal proceedings and every person has absolute and unfettered right of appeal to the Supreme Court;

To review the works and recommendations of the TRC, where necessary, and make additional recommendations when necessary, such as how far back in Liberia’s history should the Transitional Justice process go; and

To plan and implement programs and activities to solicit the opinion of the majority of Liberians on the issue of retributive justice versus restorative justice (War Crimes Court, South African style Truth and Reconciliation Commission, etc.)

According to the Senate Press and Public Affairs Department, the Hearing will commence at 12 Noon in the Senate Chamber Annex and the Health protocols put into place will be strictly observed.