Bong County District #4 Representative Robert Womah and Nimba County District #8 Representative Larry Younquoi, have agreed to vote for the establishment of War and Economic Crime Courts in Liberia.
This followed a communication from President George Weah to the House of Representatives on the creation of the Special Courts and the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommendations.
The Bong and Nimba counties’ lawmakers, in separate interviews after Friday’s Special Sitting, informed journalists that their decisions to support the creation of the Special Courts are aimed at ending impunity in the country and allow perpetrators of the wars to give account of human rights and economic abuses by exonerating themselves before the court.
The lawmakers’ exposure to favor the Special Courts seem daring, since many others who also support the creation of the Court are quiet and begged to remain hushed in keeping their support to themselves.
Grand Gedeh County District #2 Representative, George S. Boley, one of the notable warlords, told journalists: “The sooner the war crimes court is established, the better it would be for Liberia.”
Nimba County Districts 1 and 4 Representatives, Jeremiah Koung and Gonpu Kargon (both Senator’s Prince Y. Johnson loyalists), disagreed over the establishment of the War Crime Court.
Rep. Koung said he preferred the creation of an economic crimes court, calling on his colleagues to table the discussion on the establishment of a war crimes court, while Rep. Kargon preferred “dialogue as the best alternative” to the two courts.
President George Manneh Weah, in his two-page letter to Speaker Bhofal Chambers, which was read in Friday’s Special Session, said from September 4– 6, 2019, over 350 concerned participants from the three branches of government, political parties, youth, women, development partners, civil society organizations, institutions of higher learning and international experts, engaged in an intense deliberation on the present economic, and monetary challenges of the county, under the nomenclature the “National Economic Dialogue.”
Among the recommendations on the National Consensus on the Revival and Growth of the Liberian Economy, the participants stressed the need for accountability for past human rights violations as essential ingredients for sustainable peace for the implementation of the TRC report, including the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Courts.
The creation of Special Courts is part of the Peacebuilding and Reconciliation thematic strategy, which is one of the four key thematic strategies that require immediate and medium term action to revive and grow the Liberian economy, including Public Finance Mobilization and Management; Investment and Private Sector Growth and Unemployment and Skills Development.
“In addition, the United Nations has brought to the attention of the Liberian government two sets of amendments to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, including the War Crimes Amendment and Crime of Aggression Amendment,” the President wrote.
“As President of Liberia, I am committed to a holistic implementation to the National Consensus and do hereby call on the Legislature to advise and provide guidance on all legislative and other necessary measures towards the implementation of the TRC report, including the establishment of the Economic and War Crime Courts.”
Meanwhile, Montserrado County District #16 Representative Dixon Seeboe, who appears to support the establishment of War and Economic Crime Courts, proffered a motion that the President’s communication should be discussed with their respective constituents to solicit views to allow them make informed decisions as the peoples’ Representatives.
Rep. Seeboe’s motion also called on his fellow lawmakers to provide logistics and necessary resources to enable them hold consultations around the country.
Members of the House of Representatives unanimously voted for the establishment of the War and Economic Courts to be taken to their ‘peoples’ and then be reintroduced during the 3rd Sitting, which will begin the second working Monday in January, 2020.
A motion from River Gee District #2 Representative Francis Dopoh, that any motion for reconsideration should only be allowed on Friday, shut the purpose of any future motion against Plenary’s decision to advise and provide guidance towards the implementation of the TRC report, including the establishment of War and Economic Crimes Courts.