President Joseph Nyuma Boakai says he has decided to set up an office to explore the feasibility of the establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Court (WECC) for Liberia.
Mr. Boakai announced his government’s decision through his inaugural address on Monday, 22 January 2024 at the Capitol.
“We have decided to set up an office to explore the feasibility for the establishment of War and Economic Crimes Court (WECC) to provide an opportunity for those who bear the greatest responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity to account for their actions in court,” he said.
Liberia’s decades-long civil crises are estimated to have killed over 250,000, destroyed properties worth millions of dollars, and displaced many others.
Cases of public corruption even in post-war governments have deprived the citizenry of basic social services, needed infrastructural development, accessible health care, and heightened decades of abject poverty.
It seems these are key reasons for Liberians’ continued demand for a war and economic crimes court.
The country is endowed with vast natural resources, but a vast majority of its population remains in abject poverty one government after the other.
“An estimated quarter of a million of our people perished in the war. We cannot forever remain unmoved by this searing national tragedy without closure,” said Mr. Boakai.
“We shall seek advice and assistance from the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General to ensure that the court, if found feasible, will be in compliance with the highest standards of similar courts everywhere,” Boakai continued.
He added that the Legislature will have its say appropriately in this matter in to avoid any appearance of vendetta or witch-hunt.
Similarly, President Boakai said predictable business practices, including contractual certainty and public safety as enforced under the rule of law, will establish a better investment climate as Liberia seeks to expand the private sector and create jobs that best serve the people.
According to the new Liberian President, enforcing the rule of law and public safety is vital to his Agriculture, Road, Rule of Law, Education, Sanitation and Tourism (ARREST) agenda for overall national development.
He pledged that his government would improve transparency, accountability, and openness to promote good governance.
In addition, he said access to justice to preserve social, economic, and political rights and freedoms and long-term stability in the country will be a top priority of the new government.
“Corruption is a menace and a drawback. Commitment to the application of the rule of law, therefore, will be essential in the fight against corruption, as halting the tide of public corruption is an important part of our development agenda for the transformation of our country,” said Amb. Boakai.
“We must, accordingly, reset the fight against corruption and impunity to demonstrate firmness and resolve,” he noted.