[JURIST] Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) [official website; JURIST news archive] member John Stewart said Saturday that the commission will recommend the creation of a special tribunal to hear cases against those suspected of war crimes during the the country's 1989-2003 civil war. The TRC, which was established [TRC mandate text] by the peace accord that ended the 14-year civil war, was created to document the war and investigate human rights violations, but has been criticized [JURIST report] for lacking the authority to hold violators accountable. Last week, the TRC began its final stage of taking public testimony [VOA report] from war crimes victims and suspects. The hearings will resume on Monday, with a special session [New Liberian report] dedicated to victims with special needs and other vulnerable groups. The TRC is scheduled to conclude its work by June 2009.
The TRC held its first public session [JURIST report] in January 2008. It began its work in October 2006, but later stalled [JURIST reports] in June 2007 for lack of funding. Earlier this month, the son of former Liberian president Charles Taylor [JURIST news archive] was sentenced last week [DOJ press release; JURIST report] to a 97-year jail term in the US by the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida [official website] for committing torture in Liberia. Charles Arthur Emmanuel, was found guilty by a jury in October 2008 on charges [JURIST reports] that he was the head of a paramilitary group which tortured and killed opponents during the presidency of Emmanuel's father.