Liberia: New Campaign Launched For Establishment of War & Economic Crimes Court
MONROVIA – Observance of Liberia’s 175th Independence anniversary was not only celebrated, it also witnessed the launch of a new campaign aimed at pushing the country’s decision-makers, specifically President George Manneh Weah to sanction the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia.
The campaign, which is being led by former two-time Montserrado County Senatorial candidate and businessman, Sheikh Al-Moustapha Kouyateh, kicked off early Tuesday, July 26, 2022 and is expected to run up to January 26, 2023.
Ever since the inception of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led government, there have been incessant calls by Liberians for the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court due to CDC’s many advocacies for the court while in opposition.
As captured in the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the United States Congress report of June 2021, between 1989 and 2003, 250,000 Liberians died from the fighting, and thousands more were conscripted as child soldiers, raped, suffered loss of limb, and other traumatic experiences. Since that time, not a single war crimes trial has occurred in Liberia as part of the country’s judicial process.
Speaking at a news conference before the launch of the campaign, Sheikh Kouyateh said it is time that Liberians stand up to restore the hope which has disappeared since 2018 upon the inauguration of the CDC, which once championed the campaign.
“Weah made the commitment at UN General Assembly and 50 members of the House of Representatives also signed a resolution in 2019 supporting that.
“Our aim is to call on the government to adhere to the promise and commitment for the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court. It will be a civil assembly. This is good for the country because we cannot be mute forever. This is for justice and not an anti-government or a pro-opposition agenda. Liberia is all we have and we need to stand up for Liberia as this is all we have. This is above partisanship and so Liberians should do the needful to join us,” he added.
It could be recalled that 50 members of the House of Representatives in 2019 signed a resolution calling for the establishment of an extraordinary criminal court in Liberia to try those who are believed to have committed heinous crimes between 1979 and 2003 – the period of civil unrest in Liberia.
The resolution, championed by Representatives Rustonlyn Suacoco Dennis (Monsterrado Co. District #4), Chairperson of the Committee on Claims and Petition and Larry P. Younquoi (Nimba Co. District #8), Chairman on Governance was officially endorsed on Thursday, October 3 at the Duport Road Memorial in Paynesville, hosting the remains of thousands of massacre victims of the civil war.