Near-Clear Signs For WECC -Boakai Signs Executive Order 131, US Nods

MONROVIA: As President Boakai sets out to visit the United States this weekend, he made the news Uncle Sam and some Liberians had longed awaited: news about the status of War and Economic Crimes Court (WECC) that he had promised during the 2023 electoral campaign. News about the WECC was almost fading away from the public discourse lately until the Chief Executive yesterday in effect signed Executive Order #131 to set the WECC efforts on what seems to be an irreversible path. While some pundits speculate the relationship between the president’s trip and the reinvigoration of the WECC discourse with the singing yesterday, there are others who think it is gradually becoming clearer that, at long last, the dawn of D-Day is a stone throw away and it’s only a matter of hours or days before it all gets consummated. Meanwhile, the United States Government has spontaneously welcomed the president’s signing, as The Analyst reports.

President Joseph Nyumah Boakai yesterday, May 2, 2024, signed Executive Order #131 to pave the way for the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court (WECC) in Liberia, and in a matter of few hours the United States Government through its Embassy near Monrovia commended him for the historic move.

The president is reportedly leaving the country at the head of high-power delegation to the United States.

Many Liberians have praised Boikai for clearing the way earnestly to commence the WEEC process, terming it a very strong commitment to end impunity, promote rule of law and to bring closure to the ugly memory of the 14 years of brutal civil war to final closure.

Speaking shortly before signing the historic documents which was witnessed by an array of government officials, including the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Fonati J. Koffa, Senate Pro Temp Nyonblee Karngar Lawrence, members of the Diplomatic Corps, civil society organizations, members of various religious groups, among others, President Boakai said the purpose of the signing was not “only noble and humane but is also one that we believe holds far reaching positive implications for our country and people”.

He said his gesture is to signify in the clearest possible terms his administration’s commitment to justice and the rule of law, as well as to amplify affirmation that impunity will not be allowed to “stand under our watch”.

“I find it only prudent and fair to embrace and further bolster the efforts that the National Legislature has so courageously invested in this matter,” the President said and added: “It is in view of this that I am today, Thursday, May 2, 2024, signing and issuing EXECUTIVE ORDER No. 131, ESTABLISHING THE OFFICE OF A WAR AND ECONOMIC CRIMES COURT FOR LIBERIA.

“Let the word go forth that we will remain firm in our stand against injustice and impunity and that we have no doubt that this move will go a long way in helping to restore respectability and integrity to this country and to a reconciled and united people.”

He earlier told the audience that he had invited them to join him in consummating a process that will set in motion deliberate action steps toward bringing justice and closure to the scars and memories of the country’s tragic and violent misadventure into more than fourteen years of senseless civil conflict.

He said through the several years following the silencing of the guns, the Liberian people have endured downpours of agony, an avalanche of recriminations, and clarion calls from either victims or alleged perpetrators.

“The conviction that brings us here today is that, for peace and harmony to have a chance to prevail, justice and healing must perfect the groundwork,” he said further. “I acknowledge the historic move by our National Legislature—both the House of Representatives and House of Senate—to reach separate, and then, a joint resolution urging the nation to take tangible steps towards paving the way to bringing a just, healed, and reconciled finality to the issues of that ugly period of our past. The direct representatives of the people spoke through their collective and overwhelming vote as they passed the resolution. And so, we must act, and act now!”

President Boakai thanked the national legislators and the justice and peace advocacy community, the interfaith community, as well as the various shades of victims who have for so long restrained themselves with the faith that at long last justice will one day arrive.

“This nation needs to be united in this resolve to ferret the causes and effects of the violence that was visited upon this Land to justly apportion the blame and rewards wherever they may lie,” he noted.

“In our resolve to Think Liberia, Love Liberia, and Build Liberia, we urge all to lend this noble effort all the support it needs so that, once and for all, we can keep our eyes on the forward march, and not remain stuck in the ugly memories of our unfortunate past.”

Before inks ever got dry on the executive order, the United States government through its embassy near Monrovia issued a statement of support to Liberia for its commitment to establish a War and Economic Crimes Court which the US government described a significant step toward justice and accountability for the atrocities committed during the protracted civil war.

Chargé d’affaires Catherine Rodriguez said, “I commend President Joseph Nyuma Boakai Sr for taking this historic and courageous step to bring justice and accountability for the atrocities committed during the Liberian civil wars. The United States firmly supports Liberia’s establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court and stands ready to assist all Liberians as it moves forward.”

Rodriguez’s statement underscores the United States’ willingness to support Liberia in this critical endeavor, offering assistance to ensure that the court’s establishment and subsequent proceedings are fair, transparent, and effective.

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