LNBA to Lead Campaign for War and Economic Crimes Court

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Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe, President, Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA)

Just upon hearing a media report dispelling that the George Weah administration is not ready for the establishment of War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia, a group of Civil Society Organizations along with the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) on Tuesday, February 16, 2021, agreed to carve a roadmap leading to addressing impunity and accountability by calling for the establishment of a war and economic crimes court.

Tuesday’s gathering that was initiated by the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA), a body of lawyers, was intended to build solidarity with the broader Civil Society Organizations to develop a comprehensive strategy to engage key stakeholders and the Liberian population.

According to a release, the LNBA said the meeting was to carve a roadmap to bring to closure the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which portion calls for the establishment of an extraordinary court in the country to try warlords and others who bear the greatest responsibilities in the devastating civil war that brought the country to its knees.

The LNBA had earlier carved a bill for submission to the Legislature calling for the establishment of a war and economic crimes court in Liberia. Lawyers reached the consensus in Margibi County about a year ago while attending one of their conferences.

Speaking at the gathering, Cllr Tiawon Gongloe, president of the LNBA, underscored the need for Liberia as a country to fulfill the TRC process by taking a strong stance against impunity as a foundation for sustaining peace, stability and development.

Cllr. Gongloe further expressed his association’s commitment to work with the CSOs to engage the citizenry to mount pressure on State actors through different campaigns to actualize the establishment of a war and economic crimes court.

In her intervention, Madam Loretta Pope-Kai said, the gathering was a good start for opening a new chapter of collaboration between the LNBA and the CSOs to build a united force to defeat impunity.

Also, Jeremiah Swen, chairman of the Alliance for Transitional Justice in Liberia, underscored the need for the LNBA to forge a partnership with the CSOs, which according to Swen, can be effective in the advocacy and making the case for the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court to bring to a close the entire narrative of the Liberian Civil War.

The LNBA and groups of civil society organizations’ plea for accountability is coming at the time when a number of key players in the Liberian civil war have been prosecuted in different countries for their roles. Alieu Kosiah is currently prosecuted in Switzerland while Gibril Massaquoi’s trial is to soon open in Liberia, though not the Liberian Government carrying on the prosecution.

Mohammed Jabateh (alias Jungle Jabbah), an ex-ULIMO-J Rebel General, had been prosecuted in the United States for lying under oath to the US Immigration for not having war connection in Liberia, and he is now sentenced in jail for 30 years in the United States.

Independent sources have confirmed to the Daily Observer that more cases are pending to open in Europe in the coming months.

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