Liberia Truth and Reconciliation Commission Retracts Controversial Report

Kate Thomas

Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission has retracted a report that suggests President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf be barred from holding further public office.

Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission has retracted its final report, just hours after publishing it on its Web site.

The 370-page report recommended that 52 people be subject to public sanctions for their involvement in war crimes.  Among them is President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The report suggested she could be barred from holding public office after her presidential term ends.

President Johnson Sirleaf, Africa's first elected female president, testified about her involvement with Charles Taylor's National Patriotic Front rebel group.  She was one of many politicians who supported rebels fighting against Samuel Doe's brutal regime.

The report also detailed the names of those who should not be prosecuted, despite their involvement in the conflict. It said 30 people should be exempt from prosecution because they spoke truthfully in court and expressed remorse.

Included in that list is Joshua Milton Blayir, otherwise known as General Butt Naked.  He admitted to killing about 20,000 people at the height of the conflict.  He is now a pastor at a church with a large congregation of ex-combatants.

For the past three years the commission assessed the causes of the long-running Liberian conflict. It listened to testimonies from victims and perpetrators in Liberia and the diaspora.

The initial report was published on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Web site late Wednesday.  But early Thursday the commission retracted it without explanation. 


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