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Liberia truth commission urges war crimes prosecutions in special court

[JURIST] Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) [official website] urged Thursday that several one-time military and political leaders be prosecuted in a special Liberian court for war crimes. Those named include ex-president Charles Taylor [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], now on trial at The Hague, and Prince Y. Johnson [BBC profile], a senator elected in 2005. The commission made the recommendation in a new report [text; PDF] detailing atrocities committed during the country's two recent civil wars. The commission called for the Liberian government to set up an "Extraordinary Criminal Tribunal for Liberia" and prosecute all those persons listed as war criminals by the TRC. Prince Johnson has said [AP report] that an amnesty law passed in 2005 forbids the government from prosecuting him for crimes committed during the civil wars.

The TRC also said that those recommended for prosecution be barred from holding elected office for 30 years. Initially, the report had included the name of current Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf [BBC profile] before quickly backtracking [VOA Report] and removing her name from the report. The TRC held its first public hearings[JURIST report] in January and indicated then [JURIST report] that it would be recommending the creation of a war crimes court. Taylor, the commission's top target, is currently being prosecuted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCL) [official website] but he may be released [JURIST report] due to a lack of funds to continue the proceedings.

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