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IJG welcomes Legislative actions on war crimes court

The House of Representatives has signed a resolution for establishing a war and economic crimes court and sent the instrument to the Liberian Senate for its action.

Monrovia, April 2, 2024: The International Justice Group (IJG) has acknowledged the legislative actions taken to establish Liberia’s War and Economic Crimes Court (WECC).

However, the IJG has encouraged the executive to be more proactive in fully implementing all the recommendations of the erstwhile Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

According to a dispatch, the IJG has called on President Joseph Nyumah Boakai to honor his commitment to establishing the WECC in the interest of justice and the rule of law. 

The IJG noted that it has been almost fifteen years since the TRC report was presented, and previous administrations have made some strides, albeit without explicit recognition of the TRC recommendations.

Being the nation’s eldest statesman and the anti-corruption and rule of law icon he has been regarded for many years, the IJG called on President Boakai to honor the commitment to have the court established. 

“It is nearly fifteen (15) years since the TRC presented its final report to the Government of Liberia and two successive prior administrations failed to make conscious efforts to implement these recommendations or make any progress whatsoever,” the dispatch said.

While past administrations have taken steps towards incorporating aspects of the recommendations, the IJG said, there is a perceived need for a more explicit acknowledgment and dedication to the reconciliation, good governance, and peace objectives outlined in the TRC report. 

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It continued that former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s Administration initiated both national visioning and decentralization programs, while immediate past President George Weah implemented a dual citizenship law, whistleblower law, and the decriminalization of free speech laws, which are all part of the TRC Recommendations.

“These past leaders initiated these legal instruments, though, without acknowledging that they were TRC Recommendations and pursuing thereby, the reconciliation, Good Governance, and peace objectives inherent in those recommendations and their subsequent political actions.” 

The IJG, in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Cllr. Jerome Verdier, and Chairman for the partners, Mike Mueller, said Boakai needs to be candid with the Liberian people and the world, who are waiting to see an end to the culture of impunity in Liberia.  

The legal framework, as outlined in Article X Section 48 of the TRC Act, places the onus on the Head of State to report to the Legislature on the implementation of the TRC recommendations.

Article X Section 48 of the TRC Act says: “The Head of State shall report to the National Legislature within three months of receipt of the report of the TRC, and every quarter thereafter, as to the implementation of the Commission’s recommendations.” 

“All recommendations shall be implemented. Where the implementation of any recommendation has not been complied with, the Legislature shall require the Head of State to show cause for such noncompliance.”

The IJG leaders stated that these past leaders initiated these legal instruments, though, without acknowledging that they were TRC Recommendations and pursuing thereby, the reconciliation, Good Governance, and peace objectives inherent in those recommendations and their subsequent political actions. 

The IJG emphasizes the importance of executive actions in advancing the establishment of the WECC and highlights ongoing efforts to engage with national leaders to drive the process forward. 

The IJG has taken steps, along with international partners, to push forward the establishment of the WECC through the presentation of a draft law to key national figures.

As the deadline for reporting to the Legislature draws near, proactive measures are anticipated from the Boakai administration to ensure the full implementation of the TRC Report, specifically concerning the establishment of the WECC.

The IJG stresses the significance of all stakeholders working together to uphold justice, accountability, and the rule of law in Liberia.–Dispatch

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