Delegates from the 15 political subdivisions of Liberia are attending a week long Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Regional County Consultations in three major cities around Liberia.
The Consultations, which, are simultaneously convening in Region I: Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County; Region II: Gbarnga, Bong County; and Region III: Tubmanburg, Bomi County opened Monday with Liberia's Truth Commission Chair Counselor Jerome Verdier urging Liberians to take ownership of Liberia's peace building process following the expiration of the commission's mandate.
Counselor Verdier said dialogue is an important mechanism of conflict resolution, saying, reconciliation is a long and difficult process.
He said that the TRC had set the pace for the decentralization of the country by convening its activities in all parts of the country, cautioning Liberians that Monrovia should not always be the center of activities.
Cllr. Verdier said there can be no peace and reconciliation when there is no form of justice, noting that justice is not only prosecution but could also come in the form of reparation.
"It is not just prosecution. No Justice also for us, who are the victims. We suffered, we lost things. Something has to be done. That is reparation. Our citizens died. Justice could also come in the form of reparation."
He told the delegates at the Zwedru City Hall in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County that the purpose of the consultations is to lay the foundation for the ensuing TRC National Conference.
The delegates are sharing their concerns, best practices, lessons learned and recommendations on the peace and reconciliation process. The consultations will pave the way for follow up mechanisms and approaches on the implementation of the TRC recommendations.
It is designed to promote transparency, inclusion, participation and ownership of the peace-building and reconciliation initiatives that will help support social cohesion, democracy and national development. It is aimed at providing an opportunity once more for Liberians from the 15 counties to share their perspectives on how peace and reconciliation can be sustained in Liberia.
The consultation is one of the remaining key activities of the TRC Planned ahead of the expiration of its mandate in June 2009.
Evidently, the civil conflict came with its challenges and there is a need to undertake post-conflict peace building and reconciliation initiatives that will help support social cohesion, democracy and national development.
Delegates include 13 representatives from each county consisting of women, county authorities, children's parliament, religious leaders, traditional leaders, civil society groups, clan representatives and vulnerable groups.