Building a New Liberia

Jerome Verdier and Alfred Brownell
Jerome Verdier (on left) and Alfred Brownell at the airport in Monrovia. PHOTO: Jen Gleason

E-LAW advocate Jerome Verdier has been named head of Liberia`s nine-member Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The Commission will help Liberia recover from the civil war, which killed roughly a quarter of a million people before ending in 2003. Jerome told Reuter`s, "Liberians ... want to see accountability and justice for the atrocities that were committed." * Jerome traveled to Eugene last year to work with E-LAW U.S. to strengthen the rule of law and defend the environment and human rights in Liberia. Jerome and his colleague, Alfred Brownell, worked with E-LAW U.S. to launch Green Advocates and reform Liberia`s forestry sector. Liberia is richly endowed with tropical rainforests, iron ore, diamonds, and gold. The rapid exploitation of these natural resources fueled the civil conflict. Green Advocates paved the way for Liberia`s new President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, to sign her first Executive Order this month, canceling all timber concessions in Liberia. The Analyst, a leading Liberian newspaper, named Jerome and Alfred "2005 Human Rights Advocates of the Year." The newspaper wrote, "This group [Green Advocates], though inconspicuous in terms of `blowing their own horns,` remains the bulwark between a country of lawlessness and a free people of liberty ruled by justice for all." Congratulations to Jerome, Alfred, and Green Advocates for their pioneering efforts to build a new Liberia! * Reuters, February 21, 2006, "Liberian rights body to seek trial for abusers," Katherine Houreld in Monrovia.

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E-LAW advocate Jerome Verdier has been named head of Liberia`s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which will help Liberia recover from its devastating civil war.