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Liberia: ICRC briefs the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on IHL

25-06-2007 News Release

Upon request from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), the ICRC provided a two-day intensive briefing on international humanitarian law (IHL) to over 50 personnel of the TRC, including commissioners, investigators, researchers, data coders and other administrative staff.

 The following press release was issued by the ICRC in Monrovia on 25 June 2007  

International humanitarian law is a set of rules, which place restrictions on the use of weapons and methods of warfare. It protects people who are not, or are no longer participating in hostilities and aims to protect human dignity and limit suffering during times of war.

" The ICRC is committed to playing its role of guardian and promoter of IHL in Liberia. It will continue its support to the Liberian authorities on IHL implementation by providing its expertise whenever necessary. It will supply the TRC with an IHL library in order to help its staff members fulfil their mandate, " said Robert Young, ICRC's legal adviser based in Abidjan, during the opening day. He facilitated the training along with his colleagues from the ICRC delegation in Liberia.

The briefing took place at the Teresa Convent Compound in Monrovia on 21-22 June 2007. It focused on an overview of IHL, war crimes, tools and IHL resources, ICRC activities, working modalities, its confidential methods of work and the ICRC's testimonial immunity. The participants were given fictitious case studies on IHL and war crimes, which further enhanced their understanding of various topics discussed during the briefing.

" The two-day sessions on IHL were very exhaustive. The clear and detailed explanations during the training have empowered us to develop the tools required to fulfil the commission's objective. The experience gained will serve the TRC as it prepares to create awareness about its activities throughout the c ountry, so as to mobilize Liberian society for the promotion of peace and stability, " said Cecelia Freeman Bull, General Coordinator, on the closing day.

Liberia faces both a tremendous challenge and a historical opportunity for national reconciliation. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was created by an Act of the National Legislature in June 2005. Its mandate includes investigating gross human rights and IHL violations, as well as abuses that occurred in Liberian armed conflicts between January 1979 and 14 October 2003. IHL knowledge and awareness has become a priority for its staff members.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Zelkifli Rahman Ngoufonja, ICRC Monrovia, tel: +231 6 533 579 or +231 6 528 089