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Liberia's Truth Commission to Release Final Report Tuesday

The Liberia Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) will conclude its work Tuesday and release its final report.

For the past three years the commission has been looking into the root causes of the Liberian conflict from 1979 to 2003.

The TRC heard testimonies from many alleged victims and perpetrators in and outside Liberia.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf also testified about her alleged involvement with Charles Taylor's National Patriotic Front of Liberia rebel movement.

Some Liberians have been demanding prosecution for those the TRC would find to have committed gross violation of human rights during the conflict.

TRC Chairman Jerome Verdier told VOA no Liberian is above the law.

"The Liberian people should expect a comprehensive report from the commission based upon its findings and determination in consonance with the mandate of the commission as enshrined in its enabling legislation," he said.

Verdier said the final report will include a wide range of recommendations on issues the TRC determined to be the root causes of the Liberian conflict

He said taken in their totality, the recommendations would present a reform agenda for Liberia.

"The act requires that we address issues of impunity, that we make recommendations for reparations, we make recommendations for reconciliation, and that we make recommendations for prosecution," he said.

Some Liberians want justice from the brutality of the conflict and have been demanding the establishment of a War Crimes Court to prosecute perpetrators.

Others have argued that prosecution, especially of those alleged perpetrators who are in the current government could be at the expense of national reconciliation.

Verdier said Liberians should accept the commission's recommendations if they want to be faithful and respect the rule of law.

"No Liberia is above the law, and we have to begin a process of institutionalizing the supremacy of the rule of law in our country. Too many times we feel that because we are in authority we are above the law," he said.

In February this year, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf testified before the commission. She said she had endorsed former president Charles Taylor's rebellion against President Samuel Doe but had never been part of the rebel group

The president admitted, however, to being a part of a group of exiled Liberians who lent their support to Mr. Taylor without being aware of his true intentions.

There were unconfirmed reports late last week that the TRC might include in its final report that President Sirleaf be barred from standing for re-election because of her alleged role in the war.

Verdier said it would be unethical for him to pre-empt the findings of the commission.

"I don't know the source of the information. I wouldn't be surprised that people speculate about the outcome of our work, and I don't doubt that people have gone out of their way using all kinds of machination to get access to TRC information. But it would be seriously unethical for me to pre-empt the findings of the commission," he said.

Some have accused members of the TRC of lacking unity and at times using the commission to score political points.

Verdier said the TRC is no different from any human institution.

"As a commission we exhibited all manner of characteristics common to human nature, common to professional people, common to people of different backgrounds who have come together compelled by law to work together," he said.

He said irrespective of any internal challenges the TRC might have faced, members were able to complete the work they were assigned by law to do.