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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Liberian Senate Edges on War Crimes Evasion as CSO, US Mount Pressure

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Pressure is growing on the Liberian Senate to approve the establishment of a war and economic crimes court to bring justice to the more than 250,000 people who were killed during the country’s civil wars between 1989 and 2003.

U.S. Ambassador at Large for Global Criminal Justice, Beth Van Shaack is on top of international efforts to bring war crimes suspects and papa tractors to justice while imploring Liberians to join the advocacy.

Civil society group Movement-STAND has in recent weeks demonstrated more passion for war crimes justice, leading the national campaign to secure the necessary legal work as the upper chambers of the Liberian legislature drags feet to endorse with a resolution passed by the House of Representatives early this month to jumpstart the process of war crimes accountability.

The two-week period senators requested to review the legal and security implication of the establishing a mixture of local and international tribunal to try war crimes cases has elapsed and no action has been taken.

Senators’ apparent indifference to the tribunal could render them complicit in the evasion of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

STAND, a civil society organization dedicated to justice advocacy and human rights protection, is united with Ambassador Shaack in urging the Liberian Senate to pass the resolution for the creation of the court.

They believe that justice must be served for the innocent Liberians who tragically lost their lives during the civil wars.

The debate on establishing a war crimes court in Liberia has been ongoing for too long, despite strong popular support from the majority of Liberians who demand accountability for those responsible for heinous acts against humanity.

STAND argues that the refusal of the Boakai Administration to establish within the presidency the office of war crimes to facilitate the process as promised may be seen as an endorsement of impunity and injustice.

While the Boakai government has taken action against corruption and announced an asset recovery team, STAND said these actions do not demonstrate a genuine commitment to combating injustices and corruption without sincere efforts to establish the court.

They highlight the importance of simultaneously prioritizing accountability for individuals implicated in severe human rights violations.

STAND advises the Boakai administration to avoid delays in prosecuting war crimes and suggests a comprehensive strategy that includes pursuing prosecutions for war crimes, conducting audits, and recovering assets.

They commend Ambassador Shaack for her support and encourage her to continue engaging with policymakers and stakeholders to advance justice in Liberia.

To further support justice initiatives, STAND urges the international community to impose clear consequences not only for those who threaten or harm advocates but also for policymakers who prolong delays in establishing the court.

They assure the U.S. government of their unwavering commitment to mobilize and raise awareness among the people of Liberia to push for justice.


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