The Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, Lenn Eugene Nagbe, has said contrary to misinformation circulating in Monrovia, the American government has not issued a position on the setting up of a war crimes court, and that the issue was not part of the recent US-Liberia bilateral dialogue.
The Minister’s statement comes amidst rumors in Liberia that the US government issued a position on the question of establishment of a war crimes court during the US-Liberia first dialogue on Monday, September 16.
Speaking on a local radio at the weekend, the Information Minister said the war crimes court was not part of the US-Liberia bilateral dialogue but some members of the US Congress had put forth a bill calling for a war crimes court in Liberia.
Nagbe indicated that the war crimes court bill has not been passed but is going into a legal process at the American Congress.
“The war crimes bill is urging the Liberian government to take the necessary steps in creating the court,” he said.
The Information Minister pointed out that President George Weah has already written the National Legislature asking them to give advice on the proper steps to effect the setting up of the court.
Nagbe emphasized that the National Legislature of Liberia can advise on the legal process, saying that the President has asked the Legislature to deal with the issue of war crimes court once and for all.
According to him, based on the mandate of the President, the National Legislature has begun debating the issue of the court.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) after about three years of deliberations in its final report recommended the creation of a war crimes court to try those who bear the heaviest responsibility for atrocities committed during the 14-year civil war in Liberia.
Some of the crimes include mass killings, rape and other forms of sexual violence, summary executions, mutilation and torture, as well as the use of child soldiers.
The United States has been keen on prosecution of those accused of war crimes in Liberia and has itself tried some notorious participants in the Liberian civil war, mainly for violation of American immigration laws.