Press Releases

Chairman Verdier Jeers Pessimists as Public Hearing Opens in Gbarpolu

April 21, 2008
MONROVIA (TRC): Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) chair Jerome Verdier says despite attempts by some to cast aspersion on the TRC process and waylay its success, the Liberian people remain resolute in their support for the commission.

"Slowly but surely the veil of impunity is being lifted, and the wall of silence has begun to crumble. Healing is taking place whilst history of the conflict and its root causes are unfolding," Verdier said Monday when he officially opened rural public hearings of the TRC in the provincial capitol of Bopolu, Gbarpolu County.

Counselor Verdier said the commission will remain unwavering in its commitment to see the TRC process through to its logical conclusion, adding, "we shall be steadfast and undeterred."

He said the response of ordinary Liberians to the TRC hearings has been overwhelming and public support high as there has been no shortage of witnesses, victims and perpetrators coming forward to tell their stories and share their experiences.

Verdier said the hearings have developed a dynamic of their own and prove beyond expectation that the shield of impunity and the culture of silence can indeed be broken.

But the TRC chair said the process can be undermined when victims are afraid to speak openly against the abuses they suffered and when perpetrators continue to gloat over their exploits.

Cllr. Verdier said, "While the TRC process is about mending and restoring broken relationships, regaining the dignity of victims and helping perpetrators rediscover their lost humanity, it is equally important to understand that the TRC process is undermined when victims are afraid to speak out openly against the abuses they suffered, when perpetrators continue to gloat over their exploits, and when officials of government, through acts of omission or commission abuse the public trust without reckon."

He commended the commission's partners, the Government of Liberia and the Liberian people for their solidarity and continued support.

The TRC is an independent body set up to investigate the root causes of the Liberian crisis, document human rights violations, review the history of Liberia, and put all human rights abuses that occurred during the period from 1979 to 2003 on record. The TRC mandate is to also identify victims and perpetrators and make recommendations on amnesty, prosecution and reparation.

The ongoing rural public hearing in Bopolu City is being held under the theme: "Confronting Our Difficult Past, For A Better Future."

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