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Liberia Parliament Backs Creation Of War Crimes Tribunal

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On Wednesday, Liberia’s parliament made a historic decision by voting to endorse the establishment of a war crimes court, marking twenty years since the end of the country’s deadliest conflict.

Between 1989 and 2023, Liberia endured two devastating civil wars whic was marked by widespread atrocities, including massacres, rape, and the recruitment of child soldiers.

Despite recommendations from a truth and reconciliation committee advocating for the creation of a specialized tribunal to prosecute those responsible for these crimes, no action had been taken until now.

The initiative to establish the court was championed by the newly elected President Joseph Boakai and garnered support from 42 out of 72 legislators. However, for the resolution to take effect, it must also pass through the senate but no date has been set for this crucial vote.

The staggering toll of the two civil wars claimed lives which is estimated at 250,000.

Previous Liberian leaders have been hesitant to pursue the establishment of the court, with critics alleging their reluctance stems from a desire to shield themselves or their allies from potential prosecution.

However, the proposal is not universally embraced, as some voices argue against the creation of the court, fearing it may reignite past traumas and divisions.