Congressman Chris Smith Energizes War & Economic Crimes Court Debate For Liberia

U.S. Congressman Chris Smith, Chair of the House Subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, today issued the following statement regarding the need to establish a War Crimes & Economic Crimes Court in Liberia to help redress the wounds of the country’s civil wars:

            “In recent decades, Liberia’s people have suffered untold human rights violations and economic crimes while perpetrators acted with near-complete impunity during the country’s multiple civil wars.  Since that time, minimal efforts have been made in Liberia to address these crimes, notwithstanding a recommendation in 2009 by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to establish a court to ensure justice.

            As a presidential candidate, Joseph Boakai stated repeatedly that a War Crimes and Economic Crimes Court needed to be established for the Liberian people to end impunity and for the nation to heal.

            In his inaugural addressPresident Boakai then committed to pursue ‘the establishment of War & Economic Crimes Court to provide an opportunity for those who bear the greatest responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity to account for their actions in court.’ 

            Since President Boakai assumed office, the local and international communities—including the U.S.—have eagerly awaited the establishment of the Court.  This promise was made to the Liberian people who want real change—they desire democracy, human rights, and justice.    

            The U.S. Congress is also closely monitoring the establishment of this Court as a way to advance good governance and healing for the people of Liberia. We have long supported Liberia with foreign aid, providing over $162 million in 2023 and more than $4 billion over the last 20 years. 

            There must be justice and accountability for the people of Liberia. Establishing the promised War Crimes & Economic Crimes Court is a necessary, critical step for assuring lasting peace and the people’s confidence in the rule of law and the fair administration of justice in their country.