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Liberia Establishes War Crimes Court to Address Past Abuses

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Mbeki edmond

May 4, 2024

The resolution proposing the creation of the special court received support from Liberia’s lower house and senate

during those conflicts, widespread atrocities occurred, including massacres, rape, and the use of child soldiers. Despite calls from the Truth and Reconciliation Committee for a special court to try those allegedly responsible, concrete action was delayed until Boakai’s election last year.
Elect Liberian President Joseph Boakai

Liberian President Joseph Boakai has taken a significant step toward justice by signing an executive order to establish a war crimes court. This court aims to address the serious abuses committed during the country’s two civil wars between 1989 and 2003.


During those conflicts, widespread atrocities occurred, including massacres, rape, and the use of child soldiers. Despite calls from the Truth and Reconciliation Committee for a special court to try those allegedly responsible, concrete action was delayed until Boakai’s election last year.


The resolution proposing the creation of the special court received support from Liberia’s lower house and senate. Boakai expressed gratitude to the legislators and emphasized that justice and healing are essential for peace and harmony to prevail.


Activists and civil society groups have welcomed this move, advocating for greater accountability for crimes committed during the conflicts, which resulted in approximately 250,000 deaths. Once operational, the court will adhere to international standards and receive support from institutions like the United Nations. It will also handle economic crimes.


However, some in Liberia oppose the court’s establishment, fearing it may reopen old wounds and undermine an existing amnesty law that contributed to ending the fighting.

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