Liberia: Rep Smith Welcomes President Boakai’s Appointment of War Crimes and Economic Crimes Court Head

press release
By Office of Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)

Washington, DC — Appointment comes on heels of Smith hearing

U.S. Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), Chair of the House Global Human Rights Subcommittee, today welcomed Liberian President Joseph Boakai’s timely appointment of Counselor Jonathan Massaquoi to serve as Executive Director of the Office of War and Economic Crimes Court.

“With this critical appointment, President Boakai continues to show his commitment and eagerness for justice,” said Smith. “His expeditious pursuit of accountability for the people of Liberia has strong support here in the U.S. Congress, and we will continue to support him when he stays the course for justice in the face of the inevitable pushback from those guilty of crimes or trying to undermine the process.”

Counselor Jonathan Massaquoi’s appointment comes on the heels of a U.S. congressional hearing chaired by Smith last week that examined next steps toward accountability for those responsible for the egregious human rights violations suffered by hundreds of thousands of Liberians in recent decades.

Now under Massaquoi’s direction, the Office of War and Economic Crimes Court is tasked with establishing a court that will bring to justice individuals who committed untold human rights abuses—with near-complete immunity to date—during Liberia’s civil wars between 1989 and 2003, when 250,000 Liberians died from fighting, and thousands more were conscripted as child soldiers, raped, suffered loss of limb, and endured other traumatic experiences.

“The people of Liberia—who suffered brutal human rights violations and economic crimes for so many years—deserve nothing less than justice,” Smith said.