US Department Of Justice Participates In Minnesota Human Rights Conference For Liberian War Victims

The United States Department of Justice, represented by its Human Rights Special Prosecution (HRSP) section, will join an array of international human rights organizations, including the Center for Justice & Accountability, the Advocates for Human Rights, Center for Victims of Torture, and the University of Minnesota Human Rights Center, to participate in a historic human rights conference focused on the victims of Liberia’s 14-year civil war.

The Coalition for Justice in Liberia, principal organizer of this conference, aims to highlight the neglected issue of justice for the victims of the Liberian civil war who have been silenced and marginalized by Liberian policymakers.

The conference is also organized to call attention to the need to hold perpetrators of human rights violations accountable.

The Human Rights and Special Prosecutions section is a component of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.

Among its many responsibilities it is charged with carrying out, HRSP investigates and prosecutes serious human rights violations such as torture, genocide, war crimes, and use of child soldiers.

HRSP is also involved in a coordinated effort with other federal entities, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI), to ensure that the U.S. does not become a safe haven for human rights violators.

HRSP also conducts outreach to nongovernmental organizations and immigrant communities across the United States.

A well-known and first-ever prosecution of a charge of torture involved the American son of former Liberian president Charles Taylor.

Chuckie Taylor was commander of an armed security force in Liberia during his father’s administration.

He was accused of having committed torture by among other things, burning victims with molten plastic, lit cigarettes, candle wax, and an iron. Taylor was convicted after a jury trial and was sentenced in 2009 for 97 years in prison.

The conference shall feature several keynote speakers.

One of the keynote speakers at this conference shall be Counselor Jerome Verdier, former Chairman of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

This august conference shall also be addressed by a key prosecution witness against Mr. Charles Taylor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague, a survivor of Taylor’s torture chambers.

Editor’s Note:
For more details about the conference, please contact [email protected]

Lovetta Tugbeh
CJL, Interim Director