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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Liberia: Senate Hangs WECC Resolution

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By: Zac T. Sherman

Amidst citizens, civil society actors and international high quest for the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court (WECC), the Liberian Senate has made a decision to look at the matter after weeks.

With no debate to inform their decision on the concurrence of the passed resolution on War and Economic Crimes Court (WECC) from the House of Representatives, the Liberian Senate sent the instrument in committee room.

42 out of 72 lawmakers at the House of Representatives signed a resolution calling for the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia. The concurrence of the resolution passed at the House of Representatives seems on a slow pace and yet to be done.

The Liberian Senate plenary mandated its committees on Judiciary and Security to take siege of the resolution and report in two weeks’ time.

 Unlike the House of Representatives, the Senate took a decision with some senators raising concerns on the nature and kind of resolution,  a motion  filed by Maryland county Senator J. Gbleh-Bo Brown.

A growing wave of disagreement from senators on the establishment of the WECC have been seen in recent times since surfacing in the Joseph Boakai-led Administration.

Some senators including former Pro-Tempore Albert Chie expressed strong concern about the implication and impacts of said establishment on Liberian society.

Senators to include Thomas Yaya Nimely, Prince Johnson and Albert T. Chie from Grand Gedeh, Nimba and Grand Kru Counties respectively have all expressed their disapproval to the establishment of the Court.

It is reported that Montserrado Senator Abraham Darius Dillon, Maryland County James Biney and other unnamed senators are making attempts to cripple the signing of the WECC Resolution at the Senate.

A few days prior to the resolution surfacing on the Senate’s floor, a communication from former Pro-Tempore Albert Chie asked his colleagues to consider other recommendations in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report instead of establishing War and Economic Crimes Court.

In his communication to the Senate’s plenary, Senator Chie informed his colleagues to revert to decisions made during the 54th Legislature, where the senate advised former President George Weah not to venture into establishing the court but rather implement recommendations enshrined in the True and Reconciliation Council Report.

Former Senate Pro-Tempore said the constitution and other legal prohibitions may not easily permit the establishment of said tribunal on Liberian soil on grounds that Liberia acceded to the room statute after the end of the civil war.

“Domestic economic crimes committed during the period of the civil crises can only be adjudged and litigated in domestic criminal courts under the Liberia domestic jurisprudence, and cannot be subject to an international Criminal tribunal” the communication indicated.

The Senate immediately Chie reminded the lawmakers that In their report sent to former President Weah, it was indicated that the President of Liberia offered an apology on behalf of the State of the many victims and people of Liberia in general the injuries and losses sustained by individuals and communities.

The Grand Kru Senator called on the president in line with the TRC report, to without further delay set up a Reparation Trust Fund for victims and communities.

The Senator echoed the need for the National Palaver Hut Program and other Programs for national healing, peace building and reconciliation aimed towards restorative justice started by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

He is also seeking a plenary to mandate the requisite budgetary appropriations beginning with the 2024 national budget.

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