Not the mind or the souls

06 July 2011 by Bram Posthumus

Liberia’s reconstruction is going full steam ahead – but the people appear to be left behind. 

Anyone who has been to the Liberian capital Monrovia in the past decade immediately notices the huge changes that have taken place. Instead of pot-holed and dirty, the streets have a new smooth asphalt surface and are clean. The main road east, known as Tubman Boulevard, is changing faster than the rest: from a grim and disorganised drag to a showcase street with shiny new office buildings. The people who used to live here have moved to faraway suburbs.

To lawyer and human rights activist Jerome Verdier, the former chairman of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), what is happening to Tubman Boulevard may well be symbolic for a lot that is going on in post-war Liberia. ‘We are focussing on material and physical reconstruction, not the minds and the souls,’ he says on the line from Monrovia. Nevertheless, he does not regret having served as the TRC chairman. ‘It was a wonderful and revealing experience. I have no regrets.’

Want to read more?

If you subscribe to a free membership, you can read this article and explore our full archive, dating back to 1997.

Subscribe now

Related articles

21 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

Being the ICC's Chief Prosecutor is a delicate and politically sensitivejob.ForLuisMorenoOcampo it has been "the best job in the world." Fatou Bensouda will be taking over his office in June. She inhe

07 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

December 7, 2011 Ivory Coast is the latest playgroundoftheInternationalCriminal Court. This week the courtroom in The Hague became its theatre of justice. Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo proudly p

07 December 2011 by Richard Walker

Four Congolese witnesses testifying at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, find themselves caught in a legal wrangle, which could at once set a legal precedent and make them the last

07 December 2011 by Lindy Janssen

Brazil is booming. The economy is expanding and the country is getting ready to host the Football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. But the Latin American giant has not even begun dealing wi

07 December 2011 by Radosa Milutinovic

The primary purpose of the retrial of Ramush Haradinaj, as proclaimed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in its appeal judgement in July, should have been to hear testimonies of two "key" witnesses who proved unwilling to testify in the original trial in 2007. Almost four months into the retrial which started in mid-August, its stated aim has not yet been achieved.