Liberian rights group wants a war crimes court set upBy TERRENCE SESAY in Monrovia | Monday, June 25 2012 at 16:07
A local rights group has introduced a bill in the national legislature seeking the establishment of a war crimes court in Liberia.
The executive director of the Centre for Human Rights, Mr Dempster Brown, told state radio Monday said the bill seeks the establishment of a court similar to that of Sierra Leone to try those responsible for the commission of heinous crimes during the Liberian civil conflict.
Mr Brown explained that persons in this category include those who provided arms, training and funding for execution of the war.
He said his group had been consulting with partners in the United States and Britain who had expressed willingness to fund a war crimes court if the bill is passed into law.
According to Mr Brown, the court would comprise five judges to be vetted by the upper house of Liberia’s bicameral legislature.
The judges of the Special Court for Liberia would be credible Liberian nationals and members of the Liberian Supreme Court Bar, he said.
On why the need for a war crimes court when a Truth and Reconciliation Commission was set up to reconcile the Liberian people, the rights activist pointed out that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in fact recommended the setting up of a court to try those responsible for heinous crimes during the civil conflict.
The TRC actually recommended the trial of all former warlords who committed serious crimes during the civil conflict.
It also recommended the banning from politics for 30 years of those warlords.
Also implicated was current president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who admitted providing $10,000 in financial support to Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia.
Taylor was last month jailed for 50 years by the Special Court for Sierra Leone for crimes committed during that country's civil war.
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