Law experts meet in Liberia to create war crime court

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March for war and economic crime court in Liberia.

Law experts and politicians are amongst those meeting in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, to discuss how to set up a war crimes court in the country.

According to Civitas Maxima, a Swiss organisation that works to ensure justice for victims of war crimes, following the debate, the plan is to introduce a draft bill to parliament to create the court.

The group has been tweeting quotes from the conference, including one from Aaron Weah from the non-governmental organisation Search for Common Ground.

He urged politicians to back a tribunal: “A court will lead to new levels of trust, new levels of confidence and new levels of partnership. Investors are concerned that Liberia is not reconciled. These concerns have a way of scaring long-term investment.”

It also quotes the head of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR), Bartholomew B Colley, as saying:

“We need clear-cut political will from the president down to the other branches of governments. To show that the nation stands on the side of justice. Justice must be served.

“Coming to the court does not mean you are guilty as charged. But we need to cut the culture of impunity.”

Civitas Maxima says that in 2009 Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommended criminal prosecutions and the establishment of a special tribunal, but no-one has been investigated or prosecuted.

Liberia, founded as a haven for freed US slaves, endured two bouts of brutal fighting in 1989-1996 and 1999-2003 in which some 250,000 people were killed.

Thousands more were mutilated and raped, often by armies of drugged child soldiers led by ruthless warlords.

Regional peacekeepers intervened twice to end the fighting.

 

Sammie Idika