|Cllr Jerome J Verdier, Sr.|
The Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia, Cllr Jerome J Verdier, Sr. has left the country to participate in an international conference on the jurisdiction of international justice in Africa.
The conference which convenes in Berlin, Germany on the 20th of September 2010 is organized by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) in cooperation with Deutsche Welle under the theme “Everything That Is Just. International Penal Jurisdiction in Africa.”
Cllr Verdier has been invited to participate as keynote speaker at this international event which brings together criminal justice experts, justice advocates and practitioners from around Africa and the world in government, civil society and special criminal tribunals like the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. The ICC was established to redress mass crimes and heinous violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in situations of violent conflicts and war as occurred in Africa, Europe and other parts of the world.
Cllr Verdier was invited in his capacity as Chairman of the Liberian TRC to share the experiences of Liberia and the “challenges and difficulties of overcoming conflict and civil war”. He is also expected to share perspectives on the jurisdiction of international justice in Africa.
The TRC was commissioned in June 2006 to investigate and document human rights violations in Liberia’s turbulent past from 1979 to 2003 as an outcome of the Liberia Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Accra which ended over a decade of civil war characterized by massive human rights violations in which over 250,000 persons are estimated to have lost their lives.
The commission completed its mandate and presented its final edited report in December 2009 to the Government of Liberia recommending amongst other measures the establishment of an “Extraordinary Criminal Court” in Liberia to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity committed within the territory of Liberia as well as prosecution for other violations under the domestic criminal statutes of Liberia. The Commission also recommended further accountability measures that will ensure certain personalities be barred from holding political office for 30 years because of their roles during the conflict.
A TRC Press Release issued over the week end quoted Cllr Verdier as “expressing satisfaction over the acceptance of the work of the Commission and its recommendations by the Government and people of Liberia and praying to God Almighty that the Liberian nation will come to grips with the truism that justice, in whatever shape, form or manner, after a violent conflict such as we have experienced in Liberia, is the surest guarantee against impunity and repetition of the past”.
“Justice for all…” he is quoted as saying “…is the foundation of Liberia’s existence; it is neither an alternative nor an option, it is the way to lasting peace, unity, security, national reconciliation, healing and stability in Liberia”.