Viewing cable 08MONROVIA1064
Title: LIBERIA: TRC SUBMITS FIRST VOLUME OF FINAL REPORT

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
08MONROVIA10642008-12-29 17:58:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Monrovia
VZCZCXRO6240
PP RUEHPA
DE RUEHMV #1064/01 3641758
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 291758Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY MONROVIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0646
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MONROVIA 001064 
 
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E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/23/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL EAID LI
SUBJECT: LIBERIA: TRC SUBMITS FIRST VOLUME OF FINAL REPORT 
TO GOL 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield for reasons 1.4 B and D. 
 
¶1. (C) SUMMARY: The Liberian Truth and Reconciliation 
Commission (TRC) submitted a confidential copy of Volume I of 
its final report, including its key findings and 
recommendations, to the GOL December 19, meeting the 
recommended December 21 deadline to avoid potential legal 
complications.  TRC Chairman Jerome Verdier told PolOff the 
Commissioners had agreed on fifty people they will recommend 
for prosecution, but were afraid to include specific names in 
this first volume because there is still no mechanism to 
provide any security for the Commissioners or their families, 
and some of them have already received threats.  He hoped the 
GOL (or donors) would get TRC senior staff 24-hour protection 
so that the names could be released with the subsequent three 
volumes due out around June 22.  Verdier inquired as to 
whether it would be possible to get Temporary Protected 
Status for the Commissioners' families in the United States 
for as long as it takes to implement the TRC's 
recommendations.  PolOff told him this was unlikely and asked 
him to continue pressing the GOL for protection from the 
Liberia National Police.  END SUMMARY. 
 
FIRST VOLUME OF FINAL REPORT TURNED IN ON TIME 
 
¶2. (C) TRC Chairman Jerome Verdier told PolOff December 24 
that a confidential copy of the first volume of the TRC's 
final report was turned into President Sirleaf, Senate Pro 
Tempore Isaac Nyenabo, and Speaker of the House Alex Tyler on 
December 19, before the December 21 deadline as recommended 
by legal experts.  So far, the report has not been released 
to anyone else (including the International Contact Group on 
Liberia (ICGL), which has a mandate to oversee the TRC as 
part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement).  Although the 
Legislature extended the TRC's mandate by nine months from 
September 2008 until June 2009, it did so in a resolution 
that actually violates the original TRC Act, which only 
authorizes three-month extensions at a time.  UN lawyers and 
the ICGL advised the TRC in September 2008 to turn in its 
final report to the GOL before December 21 (the last day of 
the first three months of the nine-month extension) in order 
to avoid potential lawsuits on the validity of 
recommendations made outside the extension period.  (NOTE: 
The UN has advised the TRC that it believes perpetrators who 
will be potentially recommended for prosecution are already 
planning to use this loophole in court.  END NOTE.) 
 
SECURITY CONCERNS CAUSE TRC TO WITHHOLD SPECIFIC NAMES 
 
¶3. (C) Verdier told PolOff that Volume I, in 108 pages, 
contains "the essential elements relating to the analysis, 
findings, and recommendations of the TRC," but no names of 
alleged perpetrators who may be recommended for prosecution. 
Verdier told PolOff that while he realized the omission of 
names in the pre-December 21 report left open a legal 
loophole for potential perpetrators to challenge later on, he 
could not risk the well-being of his colleagues or family as 
long as there is no security mechanism in place to protect 
them.  A few Commissioners have already received threats of 
physical violence from alleged perpetrators for the questions 
they asked during the perpetrators' hearings.  The ICGL and 
PolOff have advised the TRC to request special protection 
from the GOL through the Liberia National Police.  Verdier 
said the TRC made the request but has not heard back from the 
government.  He told PolOff he was particularly concerned 
about the safety of his two sons attending elementary school 
in Monrovia and asked if USG would consider offering 
Temporary Protected Status in the United States for the 
Commissioners' families until the TRC's recommendations are 
implemented.  PolOff told him this was unlikely.  Other 
Commissioners told PolOff they plan to go to Ghana the day 
the names are released and stay "for at least six months" in 
order to avoid any possibility that they will be physically 
targeted. 
 
REMAINING TRC ACTIVITIES AND THE REST OF THE REPORT 
 
¶4. (C) Verdier told PolOff the TRC is on recess until January 
12, but will resume its public hearings from January 
15-February 15.  In late February and early March, the TRC 
plans to hold county consultations to help with the report 
writing and then a National Reconciliation Conference in 
April.  After this, the TRC will finish the other three 
volumes of the final report.  Volume II will be a more 
detailed version of Volume I, but will also include the names 
of people recommended for prosecution, amnesty, and 
reparations.  Volume III will contain reports on each of the 
15 counties.  Volume IV will be devoted to chapters on 
specific themes throughout the conflict (women, children, 
economic crimes, etc.) and the administration of the TRC. 
 
MONROVIA 00001064  002 OF 002 
 
 
The remaining volumes are likely to be published (and Volume 
I will be made public) around June 22, the last day of the 
TRC's legislative extension. 
 
COMMENT 
 
¶5. (C) The ICGL should be pleased that the TRC submitted 
Volume I with its key findings and recommendations to the GOL 
before December 21 as the threat of potential lawsuits by 
perpetrators recommended for prosecution cannot be 
discounted.  The fact their specific names were omitted in 
this submission, however, means that perpetrators are likely 
to use the illegal extension argument in court to challenge 
why they were included on the specific list.  At the same 
time, the threat towards the physical safety of the 
Commissioners and their families is also real, so it is 
therefore understandable why Verdier made the choice not to 
include the names at this point.  Although Volume I of the 
final report is supposed to be released in June at the same 
time as Volumes II, III, and IV, we suspect that it will be 
leaked by either the Executive branch or the Legislature 
before then.  If its premature release in any way causes more 
physical threats against TRC staff or their families, then we 
can expect there to be continued requests for temporary 
status in the United States for all of them. 
THOMAS-GREENFIELD