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Liberia: ‘War Crimes Court Will Help Us Know The Truth’

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Monrovia – Representative Edwin Melvin Snowe has joined 52 other members of the House of Representatives to sign onto a resolution calling for the establishment of a War Crimes Court in Liberia. The Bomi County District #1 Representative affixed his signature Wednesday, October 9, on the last day of sitting of the House of Representatives before its Agriculture Break.

Rep. Snowe, who chairs Liberia’s parliamentary delegation to the ECOWAS parliament said, he believes that the establishment of war and economic crimes court in Liberia will afford Liberians to know the truth and turn a new page. “I strongly believe that the establishment of war and economic crimes court will afford us as Liberian the opportunity to know the truth and turn a new page for Liberia.”

Snowe once served as a former Speaker of the House of Representatives during the tenure of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Before becoming Speaker of the 52nd, he had a close relationship with jailed President Charles Taylor, who is behind bars in the UK for crimes he committed in neighboring Sierra Leone.

Rep. Snowe after the Liberian Civil crisis was named amongst several Liberians being placed on the United Nations traveling restriction but those restrictions have since been dropped.

“I strongly believe that the establishment of war and economic crimes court will afford us as Liberian the opportunity to know the truth and turn a new page for Liberia.”

Edwin Melvin Snowe, Member, House of Representatives

The Resolution

The resolution is being championed by Representatives Larry Younquoi, Nimba County, Chairman on Good Governance and Rustonlyn Suacoco Dennis (Monsterrado Co. District #4), Chairperson of the Committee on Claims.

The resolution, according to Rep. Younquoi has been months in the making. “Since May last year, one year five months, the plenary of the House received two petitions – from a cross-section of Liberians, one calling for the establishment of a war and economic crimes court and one calling not to establish one. So, the plenary and the Joint Committees comprising Claims and Petition, Judiciary and Governance and Governance reforms. And so, since then we have been working and there have been series of consultations held with the assistance of some of the pro-human rights groups and partners and today, we have culminated the work into a resolution.”

Last week, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Bhofal Chambers, announced that members of the Legislature needed more time to consult their respective constituents before considering the endorsement of a war and economic crimes court in Liberia.

Speaker Chambers made the pronouncement following Friday’s session when he reportedly removed from the agenda the resolution signed by 50 members of the House of Representatives 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 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, bringing a sigh of relief to dozens of war victims who made their way to witness the occasion as well as lawmakers who fought so hard to get the constitutionally required two-thirds majority. 

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