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Saturday, July 20, 2024

CSNL APPLAUDS APPOINTMENT OF CLLR. MASSAQUOI AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR WAR & ECONOMIC CRIMES COURT

Date:

MONROVIA – The Civil Society Network of Liberia (CSNL) has expressed strong support for the appointment of Cllr. Jonathan Massaquoi as Executive Director of the Office of War & Economic Crimes Court in Liberia. The organization commended President Joseph Boakai for taking significant steps towards establishing the court and praised Massaquoi as an exemplary choice for the role.

In a press release issued on Monday, June 25, and signed by Francis Collins, Secretary General, and approved by Sensee Kiadii, Executive Director, CSNL highlighted Massaquoi’s impeccable legal career. Their investigation revealed that Massaquoi’s extensive legal practice has been marked by professionalism and integrity, with no evidence of moral or ethical transgressions. They emphasized that he is highly respected within the Liberian legal community and his appointment is expected to drive the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court.

The CSNL pointed out that Massaquoi’s appointment as Amicus Curiae by the Supreme Court of Liberia, where his opinions have been influential in key cases, underscores his legal acumen. His contributions to cases such as LTA vs. Orange Liberia and Government of Liberia vs. Amos Brosius are now reference points in the Supreme Court’s decision-making process.

The press release also addressed criticisms from some civil society organizations, such as the Coalition for the Establishment of War and Economic Crimes in Liberia and the Human Rights Community of Liberia. These groups argue that Massaquoi’s previous legal defense of individuals accused of war crimes, including Madam Agnes Reeves Taylor and Mr. Gebril Massaquoi, makes him unsuitable for the role. CSNL dismissed these arguments as legally flawed and an attempt to derail progress towards ending impunity in Liberia. They asserted that providing legal defense does not compromise a lawyer’s qualifications or integrity, as guaranteed by Article 21 (i) of the Liberian Constitution, which upholds the right to counsel for all accused individuals.

CSNL further compared Massaquoi’s situation to other notable lawyers who have served in high-profile integrity positions after defending individuals accused of serious crimes. They cited Mr. Karim Ahmed Khan, who defended former President Charles Taylor and later became Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), and Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who defended Guantanamo Bay detainees before being appointed to the US Supreme Court.

The Civil Society Network of Liberia called on opposing civil society organizations to cease their objections and support Massaquoi’s efforts. They urged Cllr. Massaquoi to remain steadfast and committed to establishing the War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia, a crucial step for justice and accountability in the country.

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