Given the reaction of the public to recent arrests of Agnes Reeves Taylor, Martina Johnson, Mark Jabateh the United Kingdom, Belgium and the United States, more Liberians would welcome a war crime court for Liberia than those who will oppose it.
People have had enough, especially after President Sirleaf conceded in her last State of the Nation Address that she failed in reconciliation and anti-corruption. It is shame that though we have had more than a decade of the silence of gunshots we have not been able to tackle those two chief vices that undermine the progress of our country.
No rocket science here, without justice for victims and war crime court for those who bear the greatest responsibilities for atrocities committed here, there can be no reconciliation. Many heinous crimes were committed during the civil war, and the magnitude of the crimes committed must be parallel to the punishments for those crimes. This is not witch-hunt or political strategy deployed against anyone.
It is to erode the impunity and acculturate the culture justice that to spur the culture of excellence and innovation that are essential for economic growth and prosperity. That is the same idea behind Nazi leaders being prosecuted even in their 90s; the same idea behind the Rwandan, Congolese and Ugandan tribunals, where rebel generals have been and are being tried.
In November 2013 a delegation of the Network of African National Human Rights Institution (NNHRI) visited Liberia and found no faults with the TRC recommendations.
Rather, it parodied the Independent Human Rights Commission for lack of visibility, urging the Commission to decentralize its activities. If the Commission would have carried out the recommendations of the TRC, it would have been far more visible and audible than the quietest agency it has become.
Each of the arrests aforementioned in the U.K. Belgium and the U.S. is a huge slap in the face of Liberia. These countries are making arrests for torture and for lying to immigration officers and Liberia cannot do anything even for the 300,000 people who were killed.
Just as truth hurts a person and development comes with pains for many so does reconciliation come with justice. Joshua Blayee, alias “General Butt Naked” understands this. He is rather tried in a court for his crimes than transfers a legacy of injustice to his unborn generation. It is not peace, prosperity and parity for the sake of justice. It is the other way around.
By James Harding Giahyue