By Lincoln G. Peters
Two top government officials of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) have publicly defended the government’s failure to establish a War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia.
Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel D. Tweh, Jr. and Liberia’s Solicitor General, Saymah Syrenius Cephus over the weekend cited fear and serious constitutional breaches as part of reasons for the government’s refusal to establish the court.
Their comments came during an event when Liberian lawyer Cllr. Arthur Tamba Johnson officially launched his book.
Minister Tweh claimed that war crimes advocacy is meant to unseat the government of President George Manneh Weah.
Additionally, Tweh and Cllr. Cephus said the same reason that prevented the past government of former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf from establishing the court is the same reason holding the CDC government back.
While in opposition, the CDC had advocated for the Sirleaf government to establish a War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia to ensure that corrupt government officials and warlords are prosecuted.
On 8 July 2022, Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson officially launched his book titled: “Examining The Consequences Of The Government of Liberia’s Failure to Establish Economic and War Crimes Court to Prosecute War Criminals.”
Officially launching the book, Minister Tweh said war crimes advocacy in Liberia has become a political football game to unseat the government of President George Manneh Weah.
He said it is also to use the powerful United States statesman to accomplish this aim, warning that this should not happen.
” Now Morlue is chairman of the governing party, those who turned blind eyes to his advocacy are now saying it’s time to establish the court or pick up the cost,” said Tweah.
“So now fear is [the] objective to [establish] the court. We need to restore the direction of the fear,” Minister Tweh disclosed.
He further indicated that the establishment of the war and economic crimes court in Liberia will be a risk and those who are calling for it are playing political football with it.
Minister Tweh argued that when you explain the social and economic impact of the war and economic crimes court in Liberia, those advocating for its establishment will withdraw from it.
Meanwhile, Minister Tweh has purchased over 1,000 copies of the book and promised to make sure that it is accessible to all university students.
He said he will also ensure that the book reaches all US Congress members to give them a clear understanding of the impact of establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia.
For his part, Cllr. Syrenius Cephus said the Government of Liberia is not responsible for the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court because it is a serious constitutional matter.
He contended that President Weah does not have the power to establish the court as others want him to do.
Cllr. Cephus also argued that Article 2 and 4 of the Constitution of Liberia prevent the president because an extra-constitutional arrangement is needed to establish the court.