Press Releases

TRC Begins Three Days Reparations Conference Today

Montserrado County, Liberia
21 October, 2008
Categorized as pertaining to: Hearings

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia will Wednesday begin a Three day Conference on Reparation in Monrovia.

The overriding objective of the Conference under the theme "Charting the Course of the TRC Reparations Agenda" which was arranged in partnership with the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation of the United States of America is to know and understand the value, cost and consequence of reparations on the TRC process, and to generate public opinion.

The conference is expected to broaden the scope of the TRC Reparation Policy as stated in the Commission's Public Information Bulletin # 4. The objective of the conference is to also add public opinion to what has been developed by the commission and other institutions on reparations.

During the conference, expert papers accounting for reparation experiences will be presented from around Africa and the rest of the world. The three days deliberations at the PA RIBHOUSE in Lakpazee, Sinkor will be followed by a final presentation of the conference outcome at the TRC office to be led by partners from the ICC for the commissioners' final input.

Two years into the work of the TRC, the commission's Inquiry Unit (IU) in collaboration with the Program Unit has been reviewing the practical realities of addressing the reparations needs of victims, witnesses, and perpetrators of the Liberian Civil Conflict during the TRC process and in the context of the commission's thinking on reparations.

Several attempts by the TRC field workers to explain the issue of reparations to victims, witnesses, and perpetrators have led to request for more clarity. This is evidence by the number if individuals who appeal for restoration during the public hearings.

During these interactions, issues that stand out as major components for clarity are the value of the reparations in terms of damage done, the qualification of beneficiaries who are being heard during the TRC Public Hearings process over those who will not be heard due to time space. Others issues are the capacity of the Government of Liberia to pay out reparations and the future prospects of the TRC and Government to implement and or enforce transitional justice in term of reparations.

On the basis of the clarity being sought, additional field work by TRC Intern on reparations through visitations to relevant government agencies including the Budget Bureau and Finance Ministry and the Commission's stand on reparations as reflected in TRC Public Information Bulletin # 4, the Inquiry Unit and Program Unit negotiated and arranged with other institutions both local and international on the possibility of a Reparations Conference with international input into the Liberian TRC process.

During the conference several keynote speakers including Finance Minister Augustine K. Ngafuan and Information Minister Lawrence Konmla Bropleh will deliver papers on behalf of the Government of Liberia and other invited international institutions.

Already, the HFG Foundation has facilitated the travel cost of some experts from Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and the International Criminal Court (ICC) to share with the commissioners and other participants their experiences on reparations.

The TRC was agreed upon in the August 2003 peace agreement and created by the TRC Act of 2005.

The TRC was established to "promote national peace, security, unity and reconciliation," and at the same time make it possible to hold perpetrators accountable for gross human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law that occurred in Liberia between January 1979 and October 2003.

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