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UNHCHR boss questions GoL over war crimes court, others

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The UN High Commissioner for Human RightsMichelle Bachelethas questioned the government of Liberia’s road-map for justice for victims of the Liberian Civil War and the establishment of the War Crimes Court.

Madam Bachelet also expressed concerns about the low budgetary support to the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) and at the same time expressing alarm over the situation of Gender and Domestic violence in Liberia.The UNHCHR boss made the statements when Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor paid a courtesy call on her at the Geneva United Nations Headquarters.

According to a dispatch from the VP’s office, Madam Bachelet commended the government of Liberia for respecting the rights of Liberians who peacefully assembled on June 7, 2019 to protest.

She thanked the government of Liberia for the passage of the Land Rights Act while calling for implementation of the instrument as well as the reactivation of Transparency agencies to fight issues of corruption and human rights abuses.

Responding, the Liberian Vice President highlighted the passage of the Domestic Violence Act by the Legislature, lamenting however that the issue of Female Genital Mutilation was not addressed in the Act.

She agreed that the INCHR of Liberia is challenged financially but pointed out that the entire country’s economy is under pressure and appealed to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for financial support to the INCHR.

On the issues of the War Crimes Court, VP Howard-Taylor pointed out that the two major issues perennially discussed from the previous Government of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to the current Government, were the issues of corruption and the establishment of the War Crimes Court.

On corruption, Madam Howard-Taylor accentuated the need for the establishment of a specialized corruption court to expeditiously adjudicate incidences of corruption.
She recalled her days at the Liberian Senate when she crafted a bill which called for the establishment of a corruption court, which was tabled because of its sensitive nature.

On the issue of the War Crimes Court, the Vice President said President Weah is concerned and has mandated the Ministry of Justice to develop a roadmap and make the necessary recommendations to the Cabinet in order to make a determination.VP Howard-Taylor then expressed her belief that a “War Memorial” could be greatly helpful as it is a key component of both restorative and retributive justice systems.

“This War Memorial when established, like the case of Rwanda, will unearth the level of casualties, identity of the victims and explain the historical occurrences involving the Liberian Civil War,” VP Howard-Taylor explained.

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