Liberia: Weah Prioritizes War Crimes Court

16 September 2019

President George Manneh Weah has submitted the final recommendations from the just - ended National Economic Dialogue (NED) to the House of Representatives, seeking legislative advice for the establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia.

"As President of the Republic of Liberia, I am committed to a holistic implementation of the national consensus and do hereby call on the Liberian Legislature to advise and provide guidance on all legislative and other necessary measures towards the implementation of the TRC [Truth and Reconciliation Commission] report, including the establishment of the Economic and War Crimes Courts," Weah says in a communication to the House.The letter under the signature of President Weah was read in the plenary of the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill Friday, 13 September in Monrovia.

Among its recommendations, the National Economic Dialogue chaired by Liberia's former Foreign Minister and Economist Dr. Toga Gayewea McIntosh recently urged the establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Court here.Ahead of the dialogue called by President Weah, demand for the establishment of the court has been one of key subjects for series of protests here.

But the regime of President Weah has been reluctant to agree on the subject because one of its key political allies, Nimba County Sen. Prince Yormie Johnson, a former rebel general is vehemently opposed to the establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Court.

Under his watch, sitting Liberian President Samuel Kanyon Doe was brutally murdered during the civil crisis here.

However Sen. Johnson is not alone in the Legislature, because Liberians continue to award hardened war criminals with lucrative political powers.According to President Weah's letter, the accountability for past human rights violations are essential ingredients for sustaining and achieving inclusive development.

The letter notes that the national consensus under the peace building and reconciliation thematic strategy, recommended the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, including the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Courts.

Further, Mr. Weah informs the House that the United Nations has drawn the Liberian government's attention to two sets of amendments to the Rome Status of the International Criminal Court including the War Crimes Amendment and Crimes of Aggression Amendment.

He points out that the NED presented to the Government of Liberia an unprecedented 'national consensus on the revival and growth of the Liberian economy', aimed at forestalling the declining economic trends and rejuvenating a gradual and steady economic growth pattern in Liberia.

According to President Weah, the economic dialogue identified four key thematic strategies that require immediate and medium term action to revive and grow the Liberian economy.He says they include the public finance mobilization and management; investment and private sector growth; unemployment and skills development, and peace building and reconciliation.

The National Economic Dialogue was held in Monrovia from September 4 to 6 2019, with over 350 concerned participants from the three branches of government, political parties, institutions of higher learning, youth, women, development partners, civil society organizations and international experts.The participants deliberated on the present economic and monetary challenges of the country.

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