Liberia. According to countryaah, an invasion of larvae caused so much damage to crops in mainly the northern part of the country that the government announced a state of emergency in the affected areas and appealed to the outside world for help. The larvae also spread to neighboring Guinea and threatened Sierra Leone. The larva invasion also received a political backlash when the Minister of Agriculture resigned following criticism for too slow efforts.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which since 2006 has been working to investigate abuses during the conflicts in Liberia between 1989 and 2003, presented its final report in July. There was a great stir and criticism around the world that the Commission recommended that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf be banned from public office for 30 years. The Commission justified this by having previously supported the warlord and subsequently President Charles Taylor and raised money for him. She acknowledged that she had assisted him during his preparations in the 1980s to oust military dictator Samuel Doe but denied closer contact. Her refusal to resign was widely supported in the outside world, which in Johnson Sirleaf sees Liberia’s only chance of recovery.
Eight former warlords, who, according to the Commission, should face trial for crimes against humanity, asked for forgiveness but rejected charges that, in their view, violated the peace agreement’s basic idea of reconciliation. The outlook for the Commission’s recommendations to be obeyed is small, as many of those who have been appointed are now members of Parliament, in which case decisions must be taken.
In The Hague, the Netherlands, the trial of Charles Taylor continued before the Special Court of Sierra Leone. The prosecutor’s side completed its case, and in July the defense began its work. In the United States, Taylor’s son Charles, also known as Chuckie, was sentenced to 97 years in prison for torture and summary executions in Liberia, where he was the head of a security service during his father’s term in 1997-2003.