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24 August 2010 by Bram Posthumus

Former Liberian president Charles Taylor, is in court to defend himself on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity he allegedly committed in Liberia’s neighbour to the west, Sierra Leone. Liberian media cover the trial extensively but Liberians are, to all intents and purposes, mere spectators. This trial is not about them. Liberia lacks a war crimes tribunal. What it does have is a Truth and Reconciliation Commission which has been taking countless statements from war crimes victims and perpetrators and whose report is in the public domain.

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20 October 2010 by Thijs Bouwknegt

Truth commissions have gained steady ground as a mechanism to deal with past atrocities. In 2009 alone, five commissions were set up. Geneva-based expert Priscilla Hayner studied over 40 truth commissions established since the 1970s to record the 'unspeakable truths' about human rights abuses.

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06 October 2010 by Stef Vandeginste

With a successfully completed peace process followed by general elections in the summer of 2010, the case of Burundi seemingly contradicted the conventional wisdom that there can be no peace without justice. In fact, despite a rhetorical commitment to establishing transitional justice mechanisms, no action has so far been undertaken to end impunity for past human rights crimes.

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09 July 2007 by Gibson W. Jerue

If you listen to the song publicizing the Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC) that plays in the Liberian national media, it would seem the Commission is proceeding at a steady clip. Sadly, this is a less than accurate reflection of reality. At The Hague, former president Charles Taylor's trial has been adjourned. Meanwhile, the TRC has been unable to set an opening date for its public hearings in Monrovia. With little success, its nine commissioners are attempting to convince Liberians and backers that they are ready and able to make the TRC work.

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21 January 2008 by Thierry Cruvellier

Prepared, conscientious prosecutors, tenacious lawyers concentrated on the evidence, a chamber presided over with firmness and competence, pertinent witnesses: the trail of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, opened January 7 by a Special Court for Sierra Leone moved to the premises of the ICC at The Hague, has begun with dignity.

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07 May 2007 by Tumi Makgetla

South Africa has unmatched economic and moral power on the African continent, where the International Criminal Court (ICC) has focused its first prosecutions. The government's attitudes towards the ICC are shaped by its anti-colonial struggle against apartheid and by its own choice of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

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21 January 2008 by Gibson W. Jerue

The day after the opening of the Taylor trial at The Hague, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has begun its public hearings in Monrovia. A first group of victims of the civil wars that devastated Liberia from 1989 to 2003, in which Charles Taylor played a central role, testified of the atrocities committed by all factions. 

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04 February 2008 by Gibson W. Jerue

The Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is poised to evoke its subpoena power for the first time to force to appear former warlord Prince Johnson, now senator of Liberia's northern Nimba County, says the Commission's Director of Information Richmond Anderson. Johnson was the leader of the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL), a breakaway faction of the now defunct National Patriotic Front led at the time by Charles Taylor.

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05 February 2007 by Lucien O. Chauvin

In this first part of a three articles series on reparations, IJT investigates Peru's case. Although political violence in Peru has largely subsided, the country is still avoiding addressing the aftermath of more than two decades of massive human rights violations. And though laws have been passed in order to begin compensating victims and their families for some of the damage inflicted upon them, the process is still struggling under the weight of government bureaucracy and political considerations.

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06 November 2006 by Thierry Cruvellier

More than a year after the CNDD-FDD party came to power in Bujumbura, negotiations between the Burundian government and the UN on the creation of semi-international legal institutions have come to a standstill. The criminal proceedings mechanism envisaged by the United Nations has been rejected by the new government, which is responsible for an increasing number of human rights violations. The government feels that the chief objective of the second mechanism, a truth and reconciliation commission, should henceforth be to pardon, which the UN views as amnesty. Thus the hope for justice for mass crimes committed in Burundi over the past forty years seems to be dwindling.

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