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Liberia validates Geneva Conventions

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Liberian stakeholders this week reviewed lines of the draft Geneva Conventions Act in Monrovia for validation and possible submission to the Legislature for passage into law.

Assembled at the validation of the draft Geneva Conventions Act at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday, 31 October were Law Reform Commission Chair Cllr. Boakai Kanneh, Liberian National Red Cross Society (LNRCS) representatives, Justice Ministry authorities, ECOWAS representative and members of the civil society here, among others.

At the start of the validation, Law Reform Commission Chair Cllr. Boakai Kanneh says they decided to rewrite the Conventions consistent with recommendations and suggestions received from their previous meeting.

The Liberia National Red Cross Society organized the validation exercise.By way of validation on Wednesday, Cllr. Kanneh notes that they were due to check through the document line by line, prepared to take comments and suggestions from participants so that a clean copy of the Geneva Convention can be derived that they might submit to the Legislature for passage.

“As you will know, when international instruments are signed and ratified, for some of them they might need domestication – which means you will have to take further actions to ensure that they are implemented,” he says.

According to him, the Geneva Convention has violations outlined, but Liberia, as a state party has not been able to implement those violations because the country hasn’t been able to domesticate them.

But he says what Liberia did was … it decided to amend a section of the penal code Volume Four Title 26 to upgrade the Geneva Convention.

According to Cllr. Kanneh, the Geneva Conventions will be Chapter Six of the Penal Code, adding that if there is a future law, it might be Seven, Eight and Nine.Also speaking, Deputy Justice Minister Cllr. Nyenati Tuan says it is well noted that in time of peace, you prepare for war.

He welcomes the initiative and expresses wishes for a successful deliberation.For his part, the Special Assistant to the ECOWAS Ambassador to Liberia Mr. Lola Osunlalu says the regional body supports the effort, assuring that Liberia’s human rights issues can be germane and not violated.

Among other things, Section Two of the draft Act to amend Title 26 of Liberian Codes Revised says any person, regardless of nationality and whether in Liberia or elsewhere, commits an offense if he or she partakes, counsels, assists or procures any other person to commit an offense which is in grave breach of any of the Conventions or the Protocols.

Under Section Three, the draft Act says with the exception of the Armed Forces of Liberia’s medical units and their establishments and materials, it shall not be lawful for any person to use or display for any purpose, the distinctive emblems of the Red Cross without the consent of the LNRCS and the Ministry of Health.

By Winston W. Parley

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