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Liberia group pushing for national war crimes court

[JURIST] The Forum for the Establishment of a War Crimes Court in Liberia has increased lobbying efforts to convince national leaders that Liberia needs to set up its own war crimes court in response to the controversy surrounding the trial of former president Charles Taylor [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], who faces trial in the UN-supported Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) [official website]. The group, which is also asking for support from the UN and other foreign governments, submitted a petition [Reuters report] with over 10,000 signatures from Liberians who support establishing a court last week, and is planning a demonstration in Monrovia next week. The group complains that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) [JURIST report], which was established by the peace accord that ended the 14-year civil war in Liberia and is set to begin work in June, lacks the power to effectively punish war crimes since the TRC only has the authority to document the war and investigate human rights violations.

On Tuesday, in reference to a request [press release, PDF] from the SCSL to transfer Taylor's trial to The Hague for security reasons, members of the UN Security Council indicated they are having difficulty finding a country willing to take in Taylor [JURIST report] after a verdict is reached. The UN Security Council must adopt a resolution [JURIST report] permitting Taylor's transfer to The Hague, and UK Ambassador to the UN Emyr Jones Parry said Tuesday that he was hopeful a resolution would be approved by the end of the week. VOA has more.

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