Patrick Nimely Sie-Tuon of the U.S.-based Liberia Human Rights Campaign says the group has nothing personal against President Sirleaf only to end impunity in LIberia
Five months after releasing the unedited version of its final report, Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) will Tuesday release its consolidated final report during a news conference in the capital, Monrovia.
Like the initial final report, the consolidated final report recommends that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and 51 other individuals be banned for 30 years from holding public offices for their roles in the country’s bloody civil war.
A U.S.-based group is calling on President Sirleaf to implement the recommendations in the final version of the TRC report or resign.
Patrick Nimely Sie-Tuon, general coordinator of the Liberia Human Rights Campaign, said his group has nothing personal against President Sirleaf only to end impunity in Liberia.
“We have been living under this cloud of impunity where this perception persists in our country that certain people are above the law. The TRC report provides a great avenue for us to get out of this mess, and the president, as head of the country is under obligation to implement what is considered the law of the land,” he said.
Sie-Tuon said the TRC was established by an act of the Liberian Legislature, and President Sirleaf is under obligation to implement the commission’s recommendations.
He rejected the suggestion that calling for President Sirleaf’s resignation was too strong a demand.
“No demand is stronger than the protection of our country. I would also say to those people that the wickedness that was meted out against the Liberian people by these warlords that the president is trying to protect. Their action was beyond, I don’t which to describe the word to use to describe that,” Sie-Tuon said.
Deputy Information Minister Cletus Sieh said President Sirleaf will do whatever the Liberian people want her to do about the TRC report.
“The president has been very consistent in saying that it will be the Liberian people who will make the final determination as to what happens. And so those who are calling for the president to implement the TRC report must rethink,” Sieh said.
He described the Commission’s final report as clothed in controversy and politically motivated.
“There are some people who are working for their political godfathers that want to make sure that the president along with some people that they perceive to be very strong would be banned from the process so that they have an easy ride,” he said.
Sieh said Liberians should decide whether President Sirleaf should have a second term in 2011.
The act establishing the TRC gives the commission three months after issuing its final report to wrap up its work.
But TRC sources said the Liberian government has yet to make available about $500,000 the commission has requested to pay its staff and finalize its work.
The sources said the lease for the building housing the TRC’s offices is expected to expire at the end of December with the likelihood the commission could be evicted.
But Sieh said he was not aware of the TRC requesting $500,000 to complete its work.
He said the government will meet any ‘legitimate’ obligation concerning the TRC.
Sieh accused some members of the TRC of leading a one or two-man crusade pushing for implementation of the commission’s final report even though he said the TRC mandate has expired.