Ending Impunity: The Case for War Crimes Trials in Liberia
African Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 1, p. 53, 2005
29 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2009 Last revised: 12 Oct 2017
This paper argues that Liberia owes a duty under international law to investigate and prosecute the heinous crimes, including torture, rape and extra-judicial killings of innocent civilians, committed in that country by the various warring parties in the course of 14 years of brutal conflict. The authors evaluate the options for prosecution, starting with the possible use of Liberian courts. They argue that even if willing, the national courts are unable to render credible justice that protects the due process rights of the accused given the collapse of legal institutions and the paucity of financial, human and material resources in post-conflict Liberia. As an alternative, they suggest that because the Special Court for Sierra Leone initiated the accountability process with the indictment of former President Charles Taylor in 2003, and given the close links between the Liberian and Sierra Leonean conflicts, the Sierra Leone tribunal would be a more appropriate forum for international prosecutions of the high level perpetrators of gross human rights and humanitarian law violations in Liberia during the nineties.
Keywords: impunity, international law, heinous crimes, international criminal law, international human rights, Liberia, Liberian courts, national courts, Special Court for Sierra Leone, SCSL, trial of President Charles Taylor, international criminal tribunals, Sierra Leone tribunal, due process
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