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Liberian senators back creation of war and economic crimes court

Liberian senators back creation of war and economic crimes court
The Liberian Senate.   -  
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Cleared / Facebook @The Liberian Senate


Most of Liberia's 29 senators approved the creation of a War and economic crimes court Tuesday (Apr. 9), twenty years after the bloodiest conflict in the west African country's history.

Before approval, the bill had stirred controversy as some former warlords have held elective positions in the senate.

The Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence, said "there must be justice and accountability for both the victims of the wars and the perpetrators”.

According to her, "establishing is for us a necessary and critical step for a formal closure" to the terrible memories left behind protecting the peace and encouraging the peoples' confidence in the rule of law and the administration of justice in our country".

"Establishing a war crimes court demonstrates our commitment to uphold the rule of law and ensuring that there is no impunity for serious crimes it will help strengthen our justice system and promote respect for human rights and international law. The existence of war crimes court will also serve as a deterrent against future human right abuses and violations of international humanitarian law," Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence said.

Liberia suffered two civil wars between 1989 and 2023 during which atrocities including massacres, rape, and the use of child soldiers were committed.

A truth and reconciliation committee recommended the establishment of a special tribunal to try those accused of committing crimes, but no action was taken.

The proposal to create the court was fronted by President Joseph Boakai and was backed by 42 legislators out of 72 in early March.

The two civil wars killed an estimated 250,000 people.

Previous Liberian leaders have steered away from establishing the court for what activists say is a desire to shield themselves or their loyalists from prosecution.

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