Freedom in the World
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Freedom Rating (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Civil Liberties (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Political Rights (1 = best, 7 = worst)
In 2009, the government failed to adopt critical legislation and constitutional amendments needed to facilitate legally sound presidential and legislative elections in 2011. As a result, it is likely that the 2011 polls will be delayed. Also during the year, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission completed its work and recommended public sanctions for numerous current officials and the establishment of an internationalized domestic court to try those recommended for prosecution.
Also during the year, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) completed its work. The panel’s final report was submitted to the Legislature in July, but lawmakers passed a resolution suspending any action on the report until the 2010 legislative session. The TRC recommended Johnson-Sirleaf and 49 others for public sanctions, including a prohibition from holding public office for 30 years. It also called for the establishment of an extraordinary criminal tribunal, in the form of an internationalized domestic court, to try those accused of gross human rights violations and economic crimes. A total of 106 individuals were recommended for prosecution, including Taylor and seven other former faction leaders. The Independent National Human Rights Commission (INHCR) is mandated to implement TRC recommendations, but confirmation of its members was still pending at year’s end. Separately, Taylor continued his trial, begun in 2007, before the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone.
Liberia is an electoral democracy. International observers determined that the 2005 presidential and legislative elections were free and fair. The bicameral Legislature consists of a 30-member Senate and a 64-member House of Representatives; senators are elected to nine-year terms, and representatives to six-year terms. The president serves up to two six-year terms.
While female representation in the Legislature remains limited, numerous cabinet ministers and senior level officials are women, including the leader of the opposition CDC party. Women elsewhere in government and among civil society are very politically engaged. Violence against women, including rape, is pervasive. A court with exclusive jurisdiction over sexual and gender-based violence cases completed its first trial in 2009.