Boakai Signs The War Crimes Tribunal Decree in Liberia.

Boakai Signs The War Crimes Tribunal Decree in Liberia.

In order to provide justice for victims of Liberia’s two civil wars which were marked by widespread massacres, torture, and sexual violence, President Joseph Boakai signed an executive order on Thursday.

Human rights organizations have detailed how children were enlisted into the armed forces, frequently following their parents’ murders, and how girls were the victims of gang rape. Between 1989 and 2003, approximately 250,000 people perished in successive civil wars. The majority of lawmakers, some of whom would face legal action, signed the legislation after it was approved by the House and Senate.

The belief that brings us here today is that justice and healing must finish the groundwork for peace and harmony to have any chance of prevailing,” Boakai stated in a statement.

For many years, advocates for justice and victims have demanded the establishment of a tribunal to try individuals charged with war crimes. In 2009, a post-war truth and reconciliation commission compiled a list of individuals who should face war crimes prosecution, but the government took no action. Justice was a key theme in the previous year’s presidential election, which Boakai won over former president George Weah and football star Ronaldo.

Liberia became independent 25 years after it was founded in 1822 to house freed slaves from the United States. The resolution demands that the court be financed by foreign donors. A number of legal actions must yet be completed before the establishment of an impartial and functional tribunal can begin.

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