Source: (2010) paper presented at the African Transitional Justice Research Network Workshop “Advocating Justice: Civil Society and Transitional Justice in Africa” 30–31 August 2010, Johannesburg, South Africa

The Liberia peace accord, referred to as the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA), called for the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). It appeared that the inclusion of the TRC in the CPA was largely an endeavor by the belligerent actors to prevent any attempt at ensuring that they would be held accountable for the egregious violations of human rights they perpetrated during the war years. What is more, the proposal to include the TRC was also the handiwork of international actors who were privy to the deliberation and acted as witnesses during its conclusion. According to some participants at the peace talks, the initial process included the establishment of a war crimes tribunal. However, this proposal was not made as a matter of principle. Rather, the threat of a tribunal was used as a coercive tool to impress upon the belligerent actors that if they did not sign the CPA, they would be prosecuted. The indictment of President Charles Taylor was not far removed from the minds of the belligerent actors. The compromise was to have a TRC. The decision to establish the TRC probably gave the warring factions the succor that they would not be held accountable for gross human rights violations. They were to be proven wrong. (excerpt)

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