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Monday, July 06, 2009

Liberia truth commission recommends 30-year ban on president holding office
Andrew Morgan at 4:12 PM ET

[JURIST] Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf [BBC profile] should be subject to public sanctions, including a 30-year ban on holding public office, for her role in supporting the country's 1997-2003 civil wars, according to a final report [text, PDF] released Monday by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia (TRC) [official website]. Sirleaf testified before the TRC that she provided financial support to the National Patriotic Front of former president Charles Taylor [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] when it was preparing to oust then-president Samuel Doe. The report names 50 people, including Sirleaf, whom the TRC says were "political leaders and financiers of different warring factions," though the list is "by no means exhaustive." Consistent with an earlier version of the report released [JURIST report] Friday, the TRC recommended war crimes charges against nine people, including Taylor and Prince Y. Johnson [BBC profile], a senator elected in 2005, as well as a list of perpetrators who have shown remorse and should not be punished. Johnson's name had been removed [VOA report] from Friday's version of the report.

The TRC held its first public session in January 2008, after beginning its work in October 2006 and stalling [JURIST reports] due to lack of funding in June 2007. Taylor is currently on trial [JURIST report] in the The Hague before the Special Court for Sierra Leone [official website] for crimes against humanity. In January, Taylor's son, Charles Arthur Emmanuel, was sentenced [DOJ press release; JURIST report] to a 97-year jail term by a US federal district court for committing torture in Liberia.

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