Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Implementing Truth and Reconciliation Commission Findings in Liberia

Focused on issues of international security, social justice, and women’s rights, Dr. Jeremy Levitt leads the consulting firm The Levitt Group LLC. Dr. Jeremy Levitt has worked with Liberia’s Ministry of Justice on legal transparency issues for more than a decade and was appointed by the country’s president to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

Established in 2005, the TRC was a direct result of a Liberian civil conflict spanning 14 years and the Comprehensive Accra Peace Accord. The TRC made its final recommendations in 2010, and public interest has been high in the following years as to whether these were carried out.

In a 2014 interview with the Liberian Daily Observer, Vice President Joseph N. Boakai emphasized the need for better TRC implementation procedures as a way of promoting social stability. A particularly contentious issue is the TRC recommendation that those who were responsible for the country’s instability over the past three decades be banned from holding top government posts. The Daily Observer article noted that many citizens believe that a significant number of current government officials would be affected if this point were actually implemented.

Other recommendations remaining to be enacted included the creation of a National Palava Hut reconciliation mechamism. Vice President Boakai stressed that the TRC report has led to serious consideration of the mechanics of implementation and that it has helped Liberians overcome their divided past.