Liberia Bar Association Backs Traditional Council Recommendation for War Crimes Court

President of Liberia National Bar Association, TIawan Gongloe

Monrovia – The establishment of war and economic crimes courts in Liberia is gaining momentum as the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA) on Thursday, September 12 backed a new recommendation by the National Traditional Council.

The traditional council, which comprises of elders and chiefs from across the country, announced its support for the setting-up of the two special tribunals last week during a stakeholder meeting in Monrovia.

After the recommendation was submitted to the government, the umbrella organization for all lawyers in the country in a special statement, lauded the traditional chiefs and elders’ decision.

The LNBA added that the establishment of the war and economic crimes court is necessary because “such courts will hold accountable those who committed war and economic crimes during the Liberian civil conflict”.

The LNBA further that it is completing its revision of the first draft of a Bill that calls for the establishment of a war and economic crimes courts following several suggestions from Liberians and foreign experts.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission report made several recommendations including the establishment of the special tribunals, but lack of political will from the government has delayed the process for more than a decade.

Meanwhile, making reference of the recent ruling of the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court in Grand Bassa County where seven defendants from Sinoe County were found guilty of murder and gang rape and sentenced to 25 years, the LNBA commended the government for the speedy and successful prosecution of the case.

“Such swift action by government will strengthen respect for the rule of law and human rights throughout Liberia consistent with the general desire of the Liberian people to build a better Liberia in which peace, progress and prosperity will be perpetual,” the LNBA statement added.

The Bar Association also condemned the wave of violence taking place in various parts of the country and called on government to bring to justice swiftly those who allegedly adopted and committed gang rape and other grave offenses against Madam Jestina Taylor and called on women across the country to show deep concern for her. 

At the same time, the LNBA has called on the government to take serious actions against individuals and groups who are still engaged in trial by ordeal otherwise known as “sassy wood”, that has been declared by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional.