US House of Representatives Passes Resolution for War Crimes Court Establishment in Liberia

Washington, D.C. – The US House of Representatives File Photo

House of Representatives tonight passed H. Res. 1055to reaffirm strong U.S.-Liberia ties and call for full implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations.

On the House floor prior to the vote, Chairman Ed Royce delivered the following remarks (as prepared for delivery):

“I rise in support of H. Res. 1055, which affirms the strong ties between the United States and Liberia and calls for full implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations. I want to thank Reps. Donovan and Johnson for their work on this resolution.

During my time as Chairman of the Africa Subcommittee, we held hearings and passed legislation to bring attention to the brutal civil war in Liberia and Sierra Leone that killed 200,000 people and displaced more than 1 million – one of whom, who was also orphaned by this conflict, worked in my own office in Congress. We heard a young girl – no more than 10 years old – recount the atrocities she herself endured during the war, a gruesome illustration of the horrific and lasting impact this conflict had on the people of Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The Africa Subcommittee worked across party lines and alongside the international community and the people of Liberia to apprehend the notorious warlord Charles Taylor. Today, he remains behind bars.

Liberian President George M. Weah

In 2003, the Government of Liberia, rebel groups and political parties signed a comprehensive peace agreement. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission was created, which recommended the establishment of a war crimes tribunal to ensure justice for the people of Liberia.

Former Liberia TRC Head Counselor Jerome Verdier

Unfortunately, however, this war crimes tribunal has never been established, although Liberian government figures and activists alike have continued to call for one. This resolution repeats this important call.

We have turned the page on this horrific chapter in Liberia’s history. In March, the U.N. peacekeeping mission there officially ended. It is not often we get to celebrate the successful end of a mission, and we remember the 202 peacekeepers that lost their lives to bring peace and stability in the region.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was democratically elected in 2005 and reelected in 2011 before stepping down from power. Last year, the country experienced its first democratic transition of power since November 1944. This further strengthened democratic institutions and set an important precedent for future leaders.

Liberian Peace Activists March For Justice

Much more needs to be done to crack down on corruption and create a more conducive environment for trade and economic investment. The government must ensure policies are in place to encourage businesses to invest, grow and create jobs.

But this resolution affirms the U.S. commitment to continue to partner with Liberia to support civil society, rule of law and good governance. We stand by the Liberian people in their continued efforts for a more prosperous and democratic Liberia.

The United States and Liberia have shared close historical, political and economic ties over the course of a nearly 200-year relationship. The United States is home to an estimated 80,000 people of Liberian ancestry. This resolution commends this diaspora population, which has been instrumental in America’s efforts to build a peaceful, democratic and prosperous Liberia.”

Source: Foreign Affairs Committee, US House of Representatives

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West African Journal Magazine

The West African Journal was a major magazine publication in the United States with a focus on the Mano River region and West Africa sub-region during the civil crises in Liberia and neighboring countries during the decades of the 1990s. This was the period when many citizens and others in the sub-region were fleeing their homeland due to conflicts, and the magazine was a reliable source of information covering developments in the region and in the Diaspora.  However, the magazine suspended publication several years ago but is now back. It is, therefore, delightful that The West African Journal has been reactivated. The print edition of the magazine, to be published monthly and distributed in the United States, West Africa, and other parts of the world, will provide analysis of the major events of the period under review. Due to challenges relating to availability of reading materials in the sub-region, a few hundred copies of every edition of the magazine will be distributed free of charge to libraries and reading rooms at schools and institutions of higher learning in the sub-West Africa sub-region. The Journal covers government/politics, economics/international trade/investment and partnerships, women's issues, showcase of tourism and historic attractions in West Africa in particular, and Africa in general, as well as cover the Diaspora, entrepreneurship, among others. The Journal also taps into growing interest in the Unites States regarding resource-rich Africa as the next frontier for global economic progress amid an increasing global competition for access to the continent’s abundant natural resources. The magazine will regularly cover bilateral and multilateral partnerships between the US/multinational agencies and Africa/individual African countries. More importantly, in considering the danger of Climate Change and Global Warming, The Journal serves as a strong and unrelenting advocate to create international awareness regarding Climate Change, especially how West African countries and the African Continent as a whole are being negatively impacted. Through its environmental coverage, The Journal promotes education and awareness for people to be empowered. Our experienced team of editors, reporters and feature writers are excited to bring the stories that impact politics, finance, economy, arts, health, education, climate change, women and youth issues in Africa today. Contact The West African Journal is registered and published in Washington, D.C., U.S.A. Plans are underway to open a bureau office in Liberia, from which operations in other West African countries will be coordinated. Our journalists, who bring decades of high engagement of news and reportage, include former BBC veteran correspondent Isaac D.E. Bantu, former Daily Observer Features Editor and publisher of the West African Journal Joe S. Kappia, and Pana Press Editor Tepitapia K. Sannah, and respected Photo journalist and editor Gregory Stemn. These experienced and internationally-respected journalists ensure a high standard of professional journalism. Information and inquiries for The West African Journal should be directed to the following: Editor-in-Chief; Email: Isaac D.E. Bantu: Publishing Partner; Email: Mailing Address: P.O. Box 55053, Washington, D.C. 20040-5053 USA Thank you. Managing Editor