© Stefano De Luigi/VII Network
Transitional Justice and Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission
September 28, 2009
In late June, Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its final report. Aside from recommending that more than 200 people face prosecution for crimes committed during the country's civil war, including several sitting members of the legislature, the report recommended that Liberia's president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, be barred from public office for 30 years for giving financial support to Charles Taylor's armed faction.
Johnson-Sirleaf, Africa's first woman president and an icon of the international women's movement, is supported by human rights and advocacy groups throughout the world, including the Open Society Institute. Her censure has generally been understood as a bizarre outcome of a transitional justice process gone awry.
When Steinberg visited Liberia in July, he discovered surprisingly strong popular support for the censuring of Johnson-Sirleaf, even among people who voted for her. In this discussion, he unpacks what is happening in Liberia, and what the lessons might be for transitional justice more broadly.