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Liberia's President Appoints Panel to Investigate Rights Abuses


Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has appointed a panel to investigate human rights abuses committed during a quarter-century of civil unrest that ended in 2003.

The new Truth and Reconciliation Commission was sworn in late Monday.

The panel is tasked with examining rights violations including murders and rapes, and will seek testimony from victims and perpetrators of crimes. It does not have the power to try cases but can recommend prosecutions.

The commission is modeled after South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, designed to bring to light atrocities committed the country's apartheid era.

Liberia ended 14 years of civil war in 2003, when Charles Taylor stepped down as president under international pressure.

Mrs. Sirleaf has said handing over Taylor to a U.N.-backed war crimes court is secondary to Liberia's development.