Liberia: 43 Lawmakers Sign for War, Economic Crime Courts

-- President's Propositions on Dual Citizenship, as well as Articles 45 and 48 to be "reworded"

Forty three of the seventy three Representatives have so far affixed their signatures on a Resolution to establish the War, Economic Crime Court in Liberia, the Daily Observer has reliably gathered.

Margibi County District #2 Representative Ivar Jones, also confirmed in a telephone conversation over the weekend that he signed the document since Wednesday, August 28, 2019, and was among the first batch of the lawmakers, who strongly support the establishment of War, Economic Crime Courts in the country to end impunity.

Montserrado County District #17 Representative Hanson Kiazolu and chairman of the Unity Party (UP) Legislative Caucus, also told the Daily Observer that was signing the Resolution to join Bong County District #4 Representative Robert Womah, who is also from the UP.

The UP caucus chairman said that other like-minded lawmakers, including Representatives Francis Dopoh, Dixon Seeboe, Rustonlyn Suakoko Dennis, and Mary Karwor, also signed the Resolution.

Representative Thomas Goshua of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), also joined Nimba County District #8 Representative Larry P. Younquoi, who earlier expressed support to the creation of the War , Economic Crime Courts in the country.

"We have spoken through our signatures, and there are remaining six signatures to have the two-thirds that would be forwarded to the Senate for concurrence," Rep. Kiazolu said.

It can be recalled that Representatives Womba and Younquoi, in separate interviews, informed journalists that their decisions to support the creation of the Special Courts are to end impunity in the country, and allow perpetrators of the wars to give account of human rights and economic abuses by exonerating themselves in open court.

Grand Gedeh County District #2 Representative, George S. Boley: "The sooner the war crime court is established, the better it would be for Liberia."

Some of Nimba County lawmakers, including Districts #1 and #4 Representatives, Jeremiah Koung and Gonpu Kargon, respectively (both supporters of Senator Prince Y. Johnson) did not sign the Resolution. They have expressed displeasure over the establishment of the War Crime Court.

Political pundits are arguing the endorsements of the establishment of the War, Economic Crime Courts and the eight propositions for constitutional, printing of new banknotes and some priority bills. These were some of the prime reasons the recent Presidential-Legislative Retreat that was hosted from Friday, August 16 - Saturday, August 17, 2019.

The President's recent communications are evidence of the four weeks' extension of the 2nd Sitting of the 54th Legislature.

The President informed the Legislature that he is committed to a holistic implementation of the National Consensus, and do hereby call on the Legislature to advise and provide guidance on all legislative and other necessary measures towards the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report, including the establishment of the Economic and War Crime Courts.

The President also told the Legislature in another communication that the Central bank of Liberia (CBL) has advised him that the economy may be seriously affected due to the unaccounted local currency infused in the economy that is causing high inflation, and has recommended the printing of LS$35 billion new currency to replace the existing ones.

Meanwhile, the President has written for the consideration of eight propositions to amend certain sections of the Constitution of Liberia (1986).

The Daily Observer has learned that among the eight suggested propositions, the House of Representatives is considering the passage, but with modifications on the 'dual citizenship' that any person, at least one of whose parents was a citizen of Liberia at the time of the person's birth, shall be a citizen of Liberia; but a citizen of Liberia may hold the citizenship of another country, but shall not qualify or contest elected position and shall not be appointed or to hold positions of Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassadors, Minister of Defense and Minister of Justice.

Also, the House of Representatives has agreed to scrub propositions two and eight to amend Article 45 to provide for filling vacancies created by death, resignation, expulsion or otherwise of senators, as well as suggested amendment Article 80 (f) to address historical imbalances and gender inequality experienced by the female population, one female constituency seat shall be established and reserved exclusively for women representatives in each county.

The lawmakers argued that democracy is expensive, and therefore, by-elections must exist and elections must be equally conducted for such a position as may deem necessary.

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