Liberia: Cummings, Boakai Among Others to Give Perspective on Senate’s TRC Recommendations

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MONROVIA – The Liberian Senate will on Monday continue Public hearings into Recommendations of the TRC in response to President George Weah’s request to them to advise him.

Those invited to appear on Monday, July 5, 2021 include the political leader of the Alternative National Congress, Hon. Alexander B. Cummings and Cllr. Arthur Johnson, a renowned lawyer while former Vice President of Liberia and Political Leader of the Unity Party, Amb. Joseph N. Boakai, Prof. T. Debay Sayndee, Director of the Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation, University of Liberia and representatives of the Liberian National Bar Association will appear on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 at 12 Noon.

On Thursday, July 8, 2021, Bishop Kortu K. Brown, President of the Liberian Council of Churches and Mr. Charles B. Coffey, President of the Press Union of Liberia will appear while Cllr. Jerome Verdier, Former Chairman of the TRC and Oscar Bloh, Chairman of the Election Coordinating Committee (ECC) will be appearing on Monday, July 12, 2021 at 12 noon.

Others invited to appear are the National Muslim Council of Liberia and Mr. Alan White, Former Prosecutor of the Sierra Leone Special Court on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 at 12 Noon while Mulbah K. Morlu, National Chairman of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and Madam Massa Washington, former member of the TRC will be appearing on Wednesday, July 14, 2021. 

They 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.)

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