Editorial: The Timely Establishment Of An Extraordinary Criminal Court For Liberia

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๐€๐‚๐‚๐Ž๐‘๐ƒ๐ˆ๐๐† ๐“๐Ž ๐๐‘๐„๐’๐ˆ๐ƒ๐„๐๐“ Joseph Nyuma Boakai, the establishment of the office and the setting up of the war and economic crimes court in Liberia represent a historic milestone in the fight against corruption and impunity in the country. The President said he is convinced that combating the corrosive practices in the society will contribute to the peace, sustainable development and prosperity of the country. Hence, the President, on Tuesday, June 18, 2024 appointed Cllr. Jonathan Massaquoi as the Executive Director of the Office of War and Economic Crimes Court, with the expectation that he will use his best effort to ensure the success of the initiative.

๐Ž๐ ๐Œ๐€๐‘๐‚๐‡ ๐Ÿ“, 2022, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution seeking the establishment of war and economic crimes courts in Liberia, with over forty (40) lawmakers voting in favor of the courtsโ€™ establishment. In the same vein, on April 9, 2024, the Liberian Senate signed a resolution endorsing the establishment of the courts, underscoring that justice should prevail and there should be no impunity for those who bear the greatest responsibility for war crimes, crimes against humanity, other violations of international humanitarian law and other domestic crimes which occurred during the Liberian civil crisis.

๐“๐‡๐„ ๐’๐„๐๐€๐“๐„โ€™๐’ ๐‘๐„๐’๐Ž๐‹๐”๐“๐ˆ๐Ž๐ expressed support for the full implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommendations, including the timely establishment of an Extraordinary Criminal Court for Liberia, to be known as UN backed โ€œSpecial War Crimes Court for Liberia (SWACCOL)โ€, to prosecute those who bear the greatest responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed between the period 1979 and 2003. Subsequently, on May 2, 2024, President Boakai issued Executive Order #131, establishing the office of war and economic crime court.

๐Ž๐ ๐‰๐”๐๐„ ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‘, 2024, at about 10:00 a.m., The Tom Lantos Human Rights Committee on Foreign Affairs of the US House of Representatives held a hearing on the establishment of a war and economic crimes court for Liberia at the Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C., United States of America. The panellists at the hearing, who served as witnesses, examined the legacy of Liberiaโ€™s civil wars on its people and economy and the steps for the new Office of a War and Economic Crimes Court, and offered recommendations to the US Congress.

๐๐‘๐„๐’๐ˆ๐ƒ๐„๐๐“ ๐๐Ž๐€๐Š๐€๐ˆ ๐„๐—๐๐‘๐„๐’๐’๐„๐ƒ pleasure in appointing Cllr. Massaquoi as Executive Director of the Office of War and Economic Crimes Court. According to him, consistent with the Executive Order establishing this office, he trusts that Cllr. Massaquoi will expedite its full implementation.

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