Background Briefing

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While the completion of free and fair elections without violence is pivotal, Liberia’s transition can in no way be considered complete until there is considerably more progress in several key areas. First, Liberia’s judicial system which remains plagued by striking deficiencies must be rebuilt to underpin the rule of law. Second, the process of restructuring and reconstituting Liberia’s national police and army, which have for decades preyed upon the populations they are entrusted to protect, must be completed without delay.  Lastly, those individuals most responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during Liberia’s armed conflicts must be kept out of the civil service, police and army, and be held accountable for their crimes.

Liberian officials, with the assistance of the international community, have taken concrete and meaningful steps to address concerns about corruption, a key issue which greatly contributed to bad governance and the ensuing armed conflicts. However, the newly elected Liberian government, together with the international community, must demonstrate a parallel commitment to improving deficiencies in the Liberian judicial system and key public institutions while ensuring that those most responsible for past human rights crimes are held accountable.  A failure to proactively tackle these issues could result in a reduction of the tremendous progress made in Liberia over the last two years, putting at risk the newly gained stability in both Liberia and the region.

<<previous  |  index  |  next>>September 2005