July 20, 2024

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Liberia: Alan White Solicits Support

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Rayburn House — Dr. Alan White, the former chief investigator of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, is asking the United States Congress to play a critical role in sourcing funding for the establishment of a war and economic crimes court for Liberia.

Appearing for a hearing on Thursday, June 13, 2024, at the Rayburn House Office Building, Dr. White, joined by five other witnesses, including three Liberian Human Rights Activists, stressed that it is important that the court, when established, has an annual budget, particularly supported by the United States Government.

“It is critical that the court has a stable and predictable annual budget”, he says.

Thursday’s hearing, held under the auspices of the Lantos Human Rights Commission, was on the theme of “Accountability for War and Economic Crimes in Liberia.”

It had earlier been scheduled for Tuesday, June 12, 2024, but was rescheduled for June 13th.

According to Dr. White, it is the second such hearing about the need to establish a special war crime tribunal for Liberia after the initial effort on June 21, 2021.

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He says establishing the court is a top priority of the United States, so now is the time for the entire Congress to support the Liberian people.

Other witnesses at the hearing were Yahsyndi Martin-Kpeyei, executive director of the Movement for Justice for Liberia, Alvin Smith, Chief Investigator for the International Justice Group, Michael Rubin, Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute, Adama Kiatamba Dempster, National Secretary General, Civil Society Human Rights Advocacy Platform of Liberia and Elizabeth Evenson, Director, International Justice Program, Human rights Watch, respectively.

In his testimony, Mr. Dempster notes that President Boakai must now take a step further in ensuring that the Office of War Crimes Court is operationalized.

The hearing was hosted by Congressman Chris Smith and Congressman James P. McGovern.

On May 2, 2024, President Boakai signed Executive Order#131, establishing the Office of a War and Economic Crimes Court – a major, long-awaited step toward redressing the wounds of the country’s civil wars.

According to the Executive Order, the Office is empowered to “investigate, design, and prescribe the methodology, mechanisms, and the processes for establishing a Special War Crimes Court,” as well as a National Anti-Corruption Court.

By New Dawn.

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