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War Crimes Court Will Undermine Liberia's Security...Father Tikpor

The establishment of a war crimes court in Liberia will undermine the peace and security of the country, Monsignor Reverend Father Robert Tikpor has said.

Father Dr. Tikpor said the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Liberia should not recommend the establishment of a court of international justice in Liberia at the conclusion of its process. The Catholic prelate believes that such recommendation would not solve the country's problem.

"Do not waste your time my beloved commissioners. An international court will not give us peace," Father Tikpor said.

He was testifying Monday at Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) Thematic Hearing on Historical Review in Monrovia.

He said the establishment of an international war crimes court in Liberia would ensure a return of the country to the path of confusion.

"We will not sleep if you recommend that. We will not sleep. They have their men around here. An international war crimes court will not heal the country. It will not heal the situation. We are a forgiving society. We are a healing society," he said.

He recommended that leaders of the former warring factions be granted amnesty so that the country can remain peaceful. "Let's ignore the heads of the former warring faction. It is God that will judge them," he said.

Father Tikpor admonished Liberians to allow God to decide the fate of members of the former warring factions, saying, "Let God take our revenge."

He clarified that his recommendation was personal and not the position of the Catholic Church in Liberia.

Although he said he was not against the commission recommending prosecution, he was opposed to the setting up of a war crimes court in Liberia.

Under the theme: "Examining Liberia's Past: Reality, Myth, Falsehood and the Conflict", the hearingwill provide a critical review and expert perspectives into Liberia's past not only for the purpose of understanding the historical antecedents to the conflict, but to ensure the country's history or national narrative reflected the experiences, beliefs and aspirations of Liberians of all backgrounds.

The hearing featuring the testimonies and presentations of historians, anthropologists, journalists, lawyers, politicians, diplomats and clergymen is intended to help Liberians rewrite their history by seeking to identify the issues that underpinned our history, divided us as a people and nearly eviscerated the state.

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 Accra 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.