Dozens of Liberians yesterday, May 8, 2018 gathered on Capitol Hill to petition members of the House of Representatives in demand for the establishment of a ‘War and Economics Crimes Court’ in Liberia.
When establish the court will legally bring those to justice who were responsible for war crimes committed during the civil war in Liberia.
The protestors in their numbers with several placards called on their lawmakers to speedily approve their demand in order to curtail the cultural of impunity in their Country.
The protestors under the banner “Citizens of the Republic of Liberia” believe until the instigators of the war and perpetrators of atrocities face justice, the country would not be truly reconciled.
Liberia’s civil war lasted almost a decade and half (1989-2003) and recorded a death toll of over 250,000.
The war was one of Africa’s bloodiest. Child soldiers were used throughout the war.
Reading the petition on the grounds of the Capitol, Mr. Fubi Henries, who is leading the campaign, said, implementing the TRC recommendations would also not only rewrite Liberia’s history that culture of impunity is over, but it would also bring peace of mind to those who lost their loved ones and been going through trauma from the impact of the war. It would also serve as a deterrent for future conflicts.
“This is our cry, we want justice. This country cannot have genuine peace without justice. Therefore, the establishment of the War Crimes Court is inevitable. Even the heavens require judgment for our actions here on earth,” the petition noted.
The group argued that prosecuting perpetrators of the war is tantamount to enforcing laws on rape, murder, damage of property, adoption, and exposing kids to danger, amongst others.
In addition to war crime court, Henries and his cohorts say it is empirical to also prosecute individuals who have been placed on records for misappropriating state’s resources up to January 21, 2018. This, they said, should be done through the establishment of an Economic Crimes Court. “This is important to keep the current government officials in check. And to let them know that the era of Liberia being an ‘elephant meat’ is over,” they noted.
The petition: “A total review of all the pending audit reports with no action needs to be totally fast tracked and those who will be guilty of any fraudulent activities be dealt with according to the law.”
The petition was signed by Fubbi Henries (Fubbi Foundation for Dev. & Sus. Inc.), Franklin K. Wesseh (Citizens Action), Alex L. Swaray (Flomo Theatre Inc.), Jonathan T. Dolakeh (Citizens Action), Siaffa Kanneh (National Student Movement), Global Justice & Research Project, Lovetta Tugba (Coalition for Justice), Duke Murphy (Radio Monrovia), Jacob A. D. Kollie (National Student Movement), Richard Allen (Citizens Action), Lawrence C. Konton (Citizens Action) Success Williams (Fubbi Foundation), Liberia Trust Communications and Asatu Toure (Citizens Action).
Rep. A. Kaneo Wesso of Gbarpolu County, co-chair of the House Judiciary Committee received the petition and promised to ensure that justice is served.
Speaking to FrontPageAfrica, the forerunner of the campaign for war crimes court, Henries, said he is confident that President George Manneh Weah would heed to their call.
“President Weah over the last 12 years was advocating for war crimes court when he was in the opposition, we strongly believe that now that he’s President, he is going to ensure that we have a war crimes court in this country,” he said.
According to him, Liberians cannot continue to condone the culture of impunity and allow individuals who looted the national coffers and committed atrocities continue to gallivant in the presence of their victims who are yet to get justice.
“This country would not truly reconcile if the victims of war do not get justice. We can’t continue living as if everything is okay when it is not. We can’t continue holding the grief when those who committed the acts pass around freely. There must be justice for the aggrieved,” he added.