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Past Governments Must Apologize, Pay Reparations

Representatives of past Liberian governments must apologize and pay some reparation for injustices and brutality meted against the people of Liberia, an activist of the Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL), Dr. Marcus Dahn had demanded.

Dr. Dahn said while it is true that the mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is legislated to suit its purpose, both victims and perpetrators must be made to account as accurately as they can remember for the country's conflict past.

He said for genuine reconciliation to be achieved in Liberia, representatives of the TWP must come forward to present their party's position for decades of injustices and brutality perpetrated against the very people who elected it to power. "If and when the TWP present its side of the story, then apology and some form of reparation must be given to the victims," he said.

Dahn, now deputy minister for administration, Ministry of Post and Telecommunication insisted that the TWP must also gave account of the large unpaid international debts left behind thereby mortgaging the future of several generations of Liberians.

Representatives of the Samuel K. Doe Government, he insisted, must also gave accounts of civilians that were tortured including those who paid the ultimate price of their lives as reprisals for the November 12, 1985 failed invasion led by former commanding general Thomas Quinwonkpah. "Those people were not soldiers they were civilians, so why were they treated in such a manner?" Dr. Dahn lamented.

He said regimes of great nations including Great Britain, Australia and others have apologized to their citizens for crimes committed so why these two past regimes can't expressed penitence for their actions.

Those that overzealously acted during Liberia's year of conflict, he said, should pay the price for their actions.

Mr. Dahn said the change advocated by the PAL was now becoming a reality saying, "we are happy that we stood firm and made sure that it happened."

He proposed a rigorous public relations campaign to the TRC to enable the public to adequately understand the mandate and objectives of the commission.

"I recommend that the TRC redo what it did before. Apparently most Liberians have forgotten the mandate of the TRC. Many discussions whether on talk shows or at public centers tend to misconstrue the purpose of the TRC and what it is meant for. The TRC is a good entity and I support it 100 percent, but I think that many Liberians seem to have forgotten the mandate and purpose of the TRC. Listen to the talk shows and you hear more outrageous and inflammatory statements by people. The TRC mandate is historical and there is a need to remind the Liberian people again," Dr. Dahn said.

Under the theme: "Understanding the Conflict Through its Principal Events and Actors," the ongoing hearings will address the root causes of the conflict, including its military and political dimensions.

The hearings are focused on events between 1979 and 2003 and the national and external actors that helped to shape those events.

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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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.