Page last updated at 11:45 GMT, Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Ex-warlord warns of 'witch hunt'

Former rebel leader Prince Johnson
Prince Johnson was one of several faction leaders during Liberia's war

Former Liberian warlord Prince Johnson has warned against a witch hunt by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Prince Johnson, now an elected senator, said he had seen a confidential report recommending several war crime indictments, including one for him.

The man whose forces killed and mutilated the body of former President Samuel Doe vowed to resist any effort to arrest him.

A spokesman for the TRC declined to comment on Prince Johnson's claims.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia was set up following the end of the country's civil war in 2003.

Around a quarter of a million people died during the conflict that lasted 14 years.

No one should try to arrest me, because there will be resistance
Prince Johnson

Prince Johnson said the report recommended the prosecution of some 200 people, including several warlords.

"No one should witch-hunt us; no one should try to arrest me, because there will be resistance," he told journalists.

"We former faction leaders, we revolutionaries, we are for peace in this country."

Over the past year thousands of people have voluntarily appeared before the commission and the TRC has the authority to recommend indictments.

Set up along the lines of the truth and reconciliation commission in South Africa after the end of apartheid, Liberia's commission said it would decide after voluntary hearings if it would indict individuals.

In reaching this decision, the TRC will have to consider whether seeking justice would risk opening up the slowly healing wounds of war.

The hearings of the commission are still ongoing and are expected to continue until at least mid-February.

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