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Liberia truth commission denies work suspended due to lack of funds

[JURIST] Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) [UN Mission in Liberia news release, PDF] has denied reports that it has shut down operations due to lack of funding [JURIST report], with a spokesperson telling the Voice of America Thursday that a suspension of field research was previously scheduled. Though TRC spokeswoman Juliane Westphal acknowledged that lack of adequate funding is a problem, she said that the decision to recall workers is part of a plan to evaluate procedures. After any revisions are made, TRC researchers will resume taking statements from witnesses to crimes that occurred during Liberia's 14-year civil war [Globalsecurity.org backgrounder]. VOA has more.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission formally began its work [JURIST report] in June after being inaugurated [JURIST report] in February. TRC workers began taking witness statements [JURIST report] in October, but last week a UN rights expert urged the TRC to accelerate its efforts [JURIST report]. According to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf [BBC profile], the commission is intended to heal the war-torn country and uncover the truth about the civil war. It has nonetheless been criticized by human rights groups [JURIST report] who advocate the establishment of a war crimes court in Liberia that would have prosecutorial powers.

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