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Liberia - Universal Periodic Review - Accountability - October 2019

Date: October 3, 2019
Country: Liberia
Type: Intl Mechanism Submission
Issues: Accountability , Human Rights Defenders, International Advocacy, Transitional Justice
Mechanism: Universal Periodic Review
Report Type: Stakeholder Report
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The Advocates for Human Rights submitted a stakeholder report addressing accountability in Liberia for the 36th session of the Human Rights Council's Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review.

Liberia has promised in previous UPR sessions as well as other treaty body forums to create an impartial war crimes tribunal with impunity, but has failed to follow through. Liberia also lacks a cohesive courts system without partiality or lack of resources. The Liberian civil court system is massively underfunded and lacks the resources and ability to uphold the rule of law. The system also lacks the ability to protect people in court cases from harassment. President George Weah promised to create an independent and fair War Crimes Tribunal but has taken no action to create the tribunal. His supporters and former generals have harassed any who dissent against Weah's government. This includes police on the street as well as former generals harassing parliament opposition members. None of these groups are held accountable and prosecuted due to the state of the court system. At present, 51 lawmakers have signed on to the resolution supporting the implementation of the TRC recommendations, including recommendations on accountability for war crimes. President Weah's support of a War Crimes Court and the added support of lawmakers indicates some improvement, but must come with a concrete plan of implementation and execution. The right to freedom of speech and assembly by human rights defenders is severely diminished by extrajudicial violence not being held accountable within the court system.

Recommendations include: 

  • Liberia should work with the legislature to create an independent, and impartial war crimes tribunal.
  • Liberia should obtain funding to create impartial court systems from International Partners.
  • Liberia should strengthen their legal system with more resources and ensure all who break the law should be held accountable. 
  • Liberia should ensure transparency as well as the rights to freedom of speech and assembly within civil society.