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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Liberia: US Fetches $35 Million For War Crimes Court

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By Festus Poquie

Funding for the creation of a mixture of  war and economic crimes court  to prosecute individuals, organizations and foreign agents responsible for atrocities committed during the civil conflicts of the 90s and 2000s combined with the  mass looting of state assets, seems handled in a significant respect.

United States authorities have concluded on a $35 million financing package, according to people familiar with the arrangement. The money will be made available once congress approve the commitment process, the source said. It is intended for the administration of the Office of War crimes Court.

The United Sates ties war crimes accountability to Liberia’s stability and post-conflict development. In 2018,  Congress adopted a resolution in support of criminal accountability in the aftermath of one of Africa’s most brutal wars.

House Resolution 1055 urged the government and people of Liberia to support the truth and reconciliation process through full implementation of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, including the establishment of an Extraordinary Criminal Tribunal.

“Supports efforts by the Department of State and United States Agency for International Development to advance Liberian efforts toward national reconciliation through continued support for the rule of law, effective governance, and the robust role of civil society.

President Joseph Boakai and the legislature have agreed on the court’s establishment.  On May 2, this year the President issued Executive Order NO.131 creating the Office to establish the War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia.

It’s not clear how much is needed in total, for the functioning of the extraordinary tribunal. In the period of nine years the United Nations backed Special Court for Sierra Leone spent approximately $250 million in series of trials that sentenced former Liberian President Charles Taylor to 50 years in prison after convicting him on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Since the end of the Liberian civil wars, the United States has spent close to $4 billion on various interventions in Liberia including the rule of law and governance, according to official document.

Between 1989 and 2003, 250,000 Liberians died from the fighting, and thousands more were conscripted as child soldiers, raped, suffered loss of limb, and other traumatic experiences.


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