Press Releases

Statement of the TRC on the Current State of Affairs

November 26, 2007

When in April 2003 Liberians from all levels of society, including Government, belligerent forces and civil society assembled in the Capital City of the Republic of Ghana, Accra, along with friends and partners from around the world including ECOWAS, the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) to adopt a comprehensive and sustainable peace plan for Liberia, The Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement (ACPA) of 18th August 2003 was adopted as the foundation of the peace building processes in Liberia. All actors agreed to work towards a sustainable peace in Liberia. They pledged to remain engaged with the process and thus adopting the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as the way forward for lasting peace, reconciliation and unity in Liberia.

The TRC Act of 2005 established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of the Republic of Liberia as an integral part of the peace process set out by the ACPA. The TRC is entrusted with the mandate to examine the root causes of the Liberian Civil War as well as to undertake a nationwide public dialogue process that will lead to truth-telling of events related to the civil war, so that reconciliation, justice and national healing can take place. Since its inauguration in June 2006, the Commission has vigorously pursued its mandate, surmounted formidable challenges, recorded a number of successes and is today renewing its call for the full participation of all the people of Liberia and her partners in the TRC process towards establishing truth, justice and reconciliation for sustainable peace and security of the nation.

The TRC announces that over the last six months, most of its public-related activities were suspended due to the request of the International Contact Group on Liberia (ICGL) to assess the TRC as a basis for future funding and also due to lack of funding. This request, which was accepted by the TRC, led to the establishment of the TRC Working Group (WG) as that mechanism through which international partners and donor communities are directly engaged with the TRC on a weekly basis. The TRC Working Group has been operational, since March 2007, and its role has been to review the work of the TRC, provide technical assistance and capacity to address the concerns of donors and enhance its funding position to enable the TRC accomplish its mandate in an efficient, legitimate, accountable, transparent, quality and timely fashion.

The ICGL, as both moral and political guarantors of the peace process in Liberia, is a key partner of the TRC, and its members form the TRC/ICGL Working Group. The ICGL is co-chaired by His Excellency, The Head of Delegation of the European Union and His Excellency, The Ambassador of Nigeria. The TRC/ICGL Working Group is co-chaired by the TRC and UNMIL. The Secretariat of the Working Group is at ECOWAS.
Since March 2007, the TRC has received technical support from the WG in several areas including:

Policy guidance and advice: To date, the ICGL/TRC Working Group has contributed to the revision of the TRC comprehensive work plan and the development of a forward-looking comprehensive 16-month (June 2007 to September 2008) Work Program with a corresponding US$8m budget. In addition, the TRC legal policies, rules and procedures, administrative structures, personnel policy were all reviewed. At the moment a national wide TRC Security Assessment Report is nearing completion by the government of Liberia and UNMIL.

Organizational Support: ICGL members, including the EU, UNDP, UK, USA, AU, Nigeria, UNMIL, Sweden and ECOWAS, have provided technical support to the TRC Program and Administrative Teams. UNDP has also provided the remaining US$200,000 out of the Danish Government funding support of US 600,000 for the implementation of the TRC Emergency Program. UNMIL has continued to provide logistical and technical support to the TRC county offices and outreach endeavors now and whenever necessary. The UNOHCHR and ECOWAS are both committed to filling the three International Technical Assistance Committee (ITAC) member slots in the Commission who,according to the TRC Act, are legally required to provide on-going technical assistance to the Commission.

In July 2007, the training of TRC staff on Research, Human Rights, Humanitarian Law, Gender and Management was undertaken. In this regard, the TRC wishes to present its appreciation to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and UNMIL for their training experts that saw this process through.

Co-ordination: The institution of the ICGL/TRC Working Group has facilitated the enhancement of a coherent information sharing mechanism, maximization of expertise available and also facilitated inclusive participation on TRC process by all actors. To this end, much progress has been made on the sustainable inclusion of civil society in the TRC process country-wide. It is foreseen that a TRC strategy for the wider inclusion of transitional justice groups, child protection agencies and agencies specialized in psychosocial assistance will be finalized in the coming weeks.

Reporting: All policy, program and administrative processes, actions and decisions made within the framework of the ICGL/TRC Working Group are documented and shared in a transparent manner by both the TRC and the ICGL/TRC Working Group Secretariat at ECOWAS. This has also enhanced information sharing and transparency. Further on transparency, the TRC has begun publishing its quarterly financial statement in local dailies pursuant to Sec 37 of the TRC Act and quarterly programmatic reports are always available for public consumption upon request and on the TRC website. (

Monitoring and Evaluation: The monitoring and evaluation of TRC process and outcomes require further work by the ICGL/TRC Working Group as well as by civil society. The TRC is requesting all partners, especially civil society to get involved in its work, critically assess its work, regularly monitor and make contributions and participate in all TRC processes as the leading peace-building institution in Liberia for now.

With the dedicated participation and support of all, the TRC has continued to record marked progress and is pleased to note that significant positive outcomes have been realized that have enabled the continuation of the TRC process to date.

The TRC presents its appreciation to all ICGL Member States and institutions for their dedicated effort to support the TRC as part of the peace process of Liberia. The TRC also renews its calls on ICGL members to complement their technical assistance, support and interest with providing substantial funding that the TRC needs to execute its mandate. To date, the Governments of Liberia, the Kingdom of Denmark, UNDP and the European Union remain the most consistent contributors or donors to the TRC together accounting for more than 85% of all resources contributed to or utilized by the TRC along with Open Society Initiative For West Africa (OSIWA) as the only non-governmental organization providing direct funding to the TRC.

The TRC has received funding support from the UNDP and OSIWA for the implementation of TRC program activities while government of Liberia has continued to fund the administrative costs of the TRC. The TRC wishes to specifically express appreciation to UNDP and OSIWA for this funding support.

Public awareness activities on the TRC process have been revitalized and are ongoing on both radio and television in communities around the country. The TRC undertook promotional activities during the commemoration of Liberia's 160th Independence Anniversary that was held in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County and the August 24th Flag Day celebration in Monrovia. A complementary public awareness campaign has been undertaken throughout the Republic with support from UNDP and OSIWA to coincide with the resumption of the statement taking process which is well in progress and recording remarkable results.

To reach communities countrywide, the TRC has also established County Coordinating Committees (CCC) and 15 County Offices in each county with a minimum staff and county-based volunteers drawn from government, civil society, local religious, traditional and opinion leaders and partner organizations. These county offices are centers for continued public awareness activities and dialogue on all TRC issues as well as for the taking of statements from victims/survivors and witnesses, as well as the facilitation of TRC public hearings in each county.

The TRC is also currently implementing an extensive inquiry process that examines the historical roots of the Liberian civil crisis. This inquiry is looking into all political, social, economic and cultural aspects of Liberian history and society that may have contributed to or impacted the civil war. More specifically, the inquiry process is examining i) the root causes of the conflict, ii) the military and political history of the conflict, iii) the unique nature of the Liberian conflict and its impact on women, children, youth, etc., iv) the experiences of particular individuals and institutions and v) peace-building and national reconciliation, including a review of Liberia's history to identify historical antecedents to the conflict, clarify myths and falsehoods. Information generated from this inquiry process will complement statement taking and the hearings as integral components of the inquiry process which will inform the TRC findings, recommendations and final report for subsequent actions.

Public hearings are central to the TRC process of promoting national healing and reconciliation. The TRC will shortly inform the people of Liberia on the schedule dates for the commencement of hearings throughout Liberia as soon as logistics and other planning processes are finalized in the coming week. The Hearings will focus on individual, thematic and institutional issues, civil war events and outcomes. The TRC wishes to inform the general public that its mandated commitment to reconciliation and national healing includes promoting truth-telling, reconciliation, justice and recommending actions against impunity.

With technical assistance from Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, preparatory work on national reconciliation has been initiated with training and dialogue on reconciliation undertaken within the TRC, members of the Transitional Justice Working Groups, the Liberian Council of Churches and the Legislature. It is foreseen that continued engagement of the public on reconciliation will be expanded into all counties as the TRC process unfolds.

With assistance from a nongovernmental Organization, Benetech, and funding from the US government, the TRC has established a customized database for its documentation, information storage, retrieval and analysis purposes. A coding team is in place to code and process huge volumes of information flowing from diverse sources to the TRC including an estimated 24,000 statements from statement givers around the country and in the diaspora.

Diaspora work in the USA and West Africa is ongoing. In the USA, an independent group of human rights promoters, the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, is undertaking statement taking exercises in five US States, including Minnesota itself. So far, statements have been collected from Liberians living in the USA and the Buduburam refugee camp in the Republic of Ghana. TRC teams have visited both Nigeria and Sierra Leone and have carried out dialogue with Liberian refugees living in these countries.

Pursuant to developing sound administrative and financial policies consistent with the TRC Act of 2005, two financial audits were commissioned by the TRC and undertaken by both the government of Liberia and donor partners. Under facilitation of USAID, the second financial audit was conducted in June 2007 and all audit recommendations have been implemented. We are satisfied that all funding to the TRC was utilized for the intended purposes as certified by the audit findings. In addition, the recommendations from the EU Institutional Assessment Report that called for TRC organizational re-organization and streamlining of its programs have been implemented. Since April 2007, the implementation of TRC programs and administrative processes are now fully managed by a secretariat headed the TRC Executive Secretary. He is supported by the Director of Programs, Director of Media and Public Awareness, consultants, Director of Inquiry and a host of program staff both in Monrovia and in all 15 counties. Urgent recruitment of additional technical staff including ITAC Advisors, Gender Policy Advisor, Child Protection Advisor, the Special Magistrate, etc. are on-going and very much needed to provide adequate TRC in-house technical capacity. TRC Commissioners continue to undertake their oversight functions in support of the technical TRC Secretariat staff. Commissioners are undertaking various mandate related activities including raising awareness, advancing the TRC Children's Agenda, working with the civil society organizations on the TRC Women's Agenda as well as providing on-going support to the statement taking process that is currently ongoing in all the 15 counties.

Having overcome many challenges in the past, the TRC of Liberia is currently fast-tracking its process in its programming and administration so that all its mandated activities can be achieved before the end date of September 2008. Therefore, any further delays in accessing the TRC financing support for its program operations will only delay the work of the Commission much further and negatively impact its 2008 datelines.

Conclusively, the TRC requests further understanding and support from the government of Liberia, all national and international partners regarding this matter in the event that an extension of the TRC mandate beyond September 2008 becomes necessary for the Commission to conclude its work comprehensively.

Cllr. Jerome Verdier
Chairman of the TRC
Government of the Republic of Liberia

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This had been the official website of the Liberian TRC. The Commission ended operation
in 2010. This website is maintained by the Georgia Institute of Technology.