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Liberia invites ICC to advise on war crimes court

Liberia’s President George Weah has invited the president of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to the country to discuss the idea of setting up a war and economic crimes court.

The tribunal is intended to address crimes committed during two bouts of brutal fighting in 1989-1996 and 1999-2003 in which some 250,000 people were killed.

Thousands more were mutilated and raped, often by armies of drugged child soldiers led by ruthless warlords. Regional peacekeepers intervened twice to end the fighting.

Smith Toby, Liberia’s deputy presidential press secretary, told the BBC that President Weah had recently met ICC President Chile Eboe-Osuji in Nigeria to briefly discuss the matter.

“We are awaiting a response [from the judge],” Mr Toby said.

There is growing pressure to set up a court from key players in the West African nation, including traditional chiefs and elders at a recent gathering.

President Weah has also written to the House of Representatives seeking their advice on the matter.

Senator Abraham Darius Dillon, from the opposition Liberty Party, has welcomed the move, saying recently on a radio programme that it was “time to end the culture of impunity in our country”.

But others have criticised Mr Weah for seeking advice instead of presenting a bill to set up a court. The president is suspected of using stalling tactics as some believe his administration is not keen on the court’s establishment.

“This man is playing a game,” prominent talk-show host Henry Costa said.

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