The truth about Truth Commissions: Why they do not function optimally in post-conflict societies
Countries that have undergone conflict generally experience extreme violence, social disruption, human suffering, and economic destruction, while authoritarian rule is characterized by the concentration of power in a small group of politicians who maintain control through the exclusion of political challengers and political repression.
Taylor war crimes verdict incomplete justice
The conviction of former Liberian President Charles Taylor amounts to only partial justice.
While many Sierra Leoneans are relieved to see Taylor finally convicted for his destructive role in their country's brutal civil war, his wanton destabilization elsewhere in West Africa hardly figured in the criminal proceedings against him.
It could be different…
Recently, I’ve been working with a colleague in Liberia on issues related to pre-trial detention. In his country, as much as 85% of the prison population is awaiting trial. My colleague would like to see this change.
Women key in making peace
from the article by Yvette Moore:
...."The first thing that came to my mind was, ‘Wow, finally an acknowledgement that, first, we [women] are the ones that bare the greatest brunt of all of the world’s conflicts,’” Ms. [Lehmah] Gbowee said, sharing her initial reactions to the news she and two other women had received the [2011 Nobel Peace Prize].
Critical lessons in post-conflict security in Africa: The case of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission
While the work of the Commission is now concluded, its Final Report and its processes provide penetrating insights into the challenges Liberia faces in consolidating the peace and providing security to its citizens. Many citizens testified to the erosion of public confidence in the institutions of the state, as these had become agents of oppression and were no longer delivering public goods and services. They also testified to the intense ethnic rivalries that the conflict generated and the need to re-develop a sense of the nation and national loyalty. The Commission’s second volume contains recommendations for institutional reform and national renewal. Above all, the Commission’s key finding was that the major root causes of the conflict were: poverty; greed; corruption; limited access to education; economic, social, civil and political inequities; identity; and land tenure and distribution.
President Sirleaf not bound by timeline on TRC Report, says Minister
Tuesday this week marked 90 days since Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) submitted its final edited reported to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Under Article 10, Section 48 of the TRC act, the president is to report to the national legislature within three months after receiving the TRC report and on a quarterly basis after the implementation of the commission’s recommendations.
Information minister Cletus Sieh said while President Sirleaf is concerned about the report being implemented, she is not bound by some timeline.
Engaging diasporas in truth commissions: Lessons from the Liberia Truth and Reconciliation Commission (LTRC) Diaspora Project
The LTRC recognized that several aspects of the Liberian context made involvement of the diaspora a critical component of the truth and reconciliation process in Liberia. Liberia's long-standing relationship with the US and the role played by the US during the conflict – both actions and omissions – provided a framework for examining the conflict. Also, key witnesses, alleged perpetrators, and other conflict actors were known to be residing in the diaspora, primarily in the US, but also in Europe and West Africa, and there was a widespread belief that the diaspora had played a critical role in fomenting and funding the conflict. Finally, the potential for harnessing diaspora resources was a further motivating factor for the LTRC. Commissioners expressed the hope that diaspora engagement could rally additional resources for reparations and development. Indeed, in its final report, the LTRC recommended that Liberians in the diaspora each contribute at least US$1.00 monthly to the Reparations Trust Fund ‘as the beginning of its contribution as citizens of Liberia to the economic and social development of their motherland.’
2 Walden alumni, 2 countries and 1 goal: justice
What determines whether retributive justice, restorative justice, or a combination of the two is appropriate in a given civil war situation? There are a number of factors that go into making that judgment, including the relative strength of the country’s government, the international political landscape, and whether or not the threat of international criminal courts may deter war criminals from ending the war. The motivation in choosing either type of justice, says Apori-Nkansah, is to have peace: “Is this the approach which will give us the peace we are looking for?”
Liberia national conference concludes with the Virginia Declaration
The Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission recently sponsored a National Conference on Reconciliation in Virginia, Liberia. Delegates came from all parts of the country as well as abroad, included representatives of all races, clans and tribes, and consisted of perpetrators as well as victims.
On June 19, 2009, the conference issued The Virginia Declaration: A Call For a Way Forward to a New Liberia through Reconciliation and Justice resulting from the National Truth and Reconciliation Processes Culminating in the National Conference on Reconciliation Held at the Unity Conference Center in Virginia, Liberia.
Among its provisions were calls for individual and community reparations, prosecution of leaders of warring factions during the conflict as well as use of "under the palava hut" approaches to deal with participants who have confessed their part and who seek forgiveness.