US Congress committee backs war crimes court for Liberia

The US House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday supporting full implementation of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) recommendation for the establishment of an Extraordinary Criminal Tribunal for Liberia.

The resolution comes on the heels of Liberian President George Weah’s first visit to the United States since taking office in January 2018.

In advance of President Weah’s address to the United Nations General Assembly, 80 regional, national and international civil societies groups issued an open letter calling upon him to implement the TRC recommendations.

“This resolution is very exciting because it shows the willingness of the United States government to use it’s political ties to Liberia to support victims in their call for justice and accountability for civil war atrocities,” said CJA Senior Staff Attorney Nushin Sarkarati who leads Liberia work for the Center for Justice and Accountability, an international human rights legal organization.

Liberia’s civil wars, which spanned 14 years and ended in 2003, were characterized by widespread atrocities by all sides, including summary executions and large-scale massacres. At Carter Camp and St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, hundreds of civilians were killed in a single night.

“This action by the US House Foreign Affairs Committee is a huge victory for justice in Liberia,” said Hassan Bility, Director of Liberian human rights organization, the Global Justice and Research Project (GJRP). “It marks a movement where fear is being shifted from the side of the victims to the side of the perpetrators. We urge the Liberian government to take seriously the demands of its citizens, human rights groups, and now the U.S. to establish a war crimes court. We remain committed to the belief that justice is the ultimate quest of the Liberian people.”

Center for Justice and Accountability

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