Practice Relating to Rule 158. Prosecution of War Crimes
Liberia’s Act to Establish the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2005) states:
Considering that the civil conflict was generally characterized by … violation of international humanitarian laws and standards.
Article IV. Mandate of the Commission
Section 4. The objectives/purpose of the Commission shall be to promote national peace, security, unity and reconciliation by:
(a) Investigating … violations of international humanitarian law as well as abuses that occurred, including massacres, sexual violations, murder, extra-judicial killings and economic crimes, such as the exploitation of natural or public resources to perpetuate armed conflicts, during the period January 1979 to October 14, 2003; determining whether these were isolated incidents or part of a systematic pattern; establishing the antecedents, circumstances factors and context of such violations and abuses; and determining those responsible for the commission of the violations and abuses and their motives as well as their impact on victims. Notwithstanding the period specified herein, the Commission may, on an application by any person or group of persons, pursue the objectives set out in this Article IV (Mandate of the Commission) in respect of any other period preceding 1979.
(b) Providing a forum that will address issues of impunity, as well as an opportunity for both victims and perpetrators … to share their experiences in order to create a clear picture of the past to facilitate genuine healing and reconciliation.
The Act also states:
The TRC [Truth and Reconciliation Commission] shall enjoy and exercise such functions and powers as are relevant for the realization of its mandates. Its functions and powers shall include, but not be limited to:
(j) Making recommendations to the Head of State with regard to:
(iii) The need for continuing investigations and inquiries into particular matters, at the discretion of the TRC; and
(iv) The need to hold prosecutions in particular cases as the TRC deems appropriate.
Liberia’s Refugee Act (1993) states:
A person shall not be a refugee for the purposes of this Act if … he has committed … a war crime or a crime against humanity, as defined in any international instrument to which Liberia is a party and which has been drawn up to make provision in respect of such crimes.