Liberia senate approves war crimes court's creation

  • World
  • Wednesday, 10 Apr 2024

FILE PHOTO: Opposition Unity Party and Liberia president-elect Joseph Boakai looks on next to a Liberian flag, at his home in Monrovia, November 19, 2023. REUTERS/Carielle Doe/File Photo

MONROVIA (Reuters) - Liberia's senate on Tuesday backed the establishment of a war crimes court meant to bring overdue justice to victims of serious abuses committed during the West African country's two civil wars.

President Joseph Boakai proposed the resolution, which lawmakers backed during a vote in Liberia's lower house last month.

It passed a second vote in the Senate on Tuesday with the backing of 27 out of 29 senators. Boakai now needs to give his own final approval.

The move has been welcomed by activists and civil society groups that have called for more accountability for crimes committed during two civil wars between 1989 and 2003.

Around 250,000 people were killed in conflicts that included massacres, rape, and the use of child soldiers.

A Truth and Reconciliation Committee later called for a special court to be set up to bring to trial those allegedly responsible, but no concrete action was taken until Boakai was elected last year.

Once up and running, the court would operate in Liberia in line with international standards, with back-up from international institutions, including the United Nations. It will also handle economic crimes.

Some in Liberia have opposed its creation, saying it risks reopening old wounds and could undermine an existing amnesty law that helped end the fighting.

(Reporting by James Harding Giahyue; Writing by Sofia Christensen; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

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