Organizers of a peaceful protest calling for peace and justice for victims of Liberia’s civil war say all is set to for their March on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 in NY.
In an exclusive interview, with African Star on Sunday, the Chairman of the organizing of the Peace and Justice March Mr. Vandalark Patricks said, ” people are listening and are now aware that the only way Liberia can move forward is when alleged war crimes perpetrators are brought to book for atrocities committed during the war. Weah wants to jeopardize justice for over 250,000 victims. Weah must understand that Article 2 of the Liberian Constitution so that the will of the people prevail.”
Article 2 of the revised and approved 1983 Constitution of Liberia states that, “This Constitution is the supreme and fundamental law of Liberia and its provisions shall have binding force and effect on all authorities and persons throughout the Republic.”
Vandalark Patricks, a well known Liberian rights advocate and political activist disclosed that organizers of the “March for Peace and Justice” have secured a permit from the city of New York for the peaceful protest at a local park near the UN headquarters and that they will be reading a petition in which they will be calling for the Weah Administration to prosecute perpetrators of alleged atrocities and for justice for victims and survivors of the Liberian war.
He condemned Senator Prince Johnson, a sitting lawmaker from northeastern Nimba County in Liberia, who is also a former war lord and major actor in the war and who was named in the country’s Truth a and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Final Report as a responsible for some heinous atrocities. Mr. Patricks said it was totally unacceptable that Senator Johnson would threaten the country with another war, if attempts were made to hold him accountable for his alleged war crimes.
Asked if he and organizers have directly engaged the Weah Administration regarding their call for justice, Mr. Patricks said, ” When President Weah met with opposition political parties in mid August in Monrovia, he refuses to commit to prosecuting perpetrators.. The call for justice is beyond Weah’s
Demanding that President Weah act decisively, he accused the Liberia President of “doing everything possible to subvert peace and justice in Liberia.”
The Chairman of the “March for Peace and Justice” called on the UN to prevail on the Weah Administration.. According to him, the organized march supports efforts by Human Rights Watch, the International Justice Group, Civitas Maxima, Amnesty International and the international Community for implementation of recommendations contained in the Final Report of the country’s TRC and for justice and accountability for victims and survivors in Liberia.
When asked is he was “troublemaker” intent on causing embarrassment for the Liberian President in New York, Mr. Patricks denied the characterization and said those describing him as a “troublemaker” are government supporters and operatives who have no intent in pursuing justice for Liberians or questioned about public policies. He strongly defended his years of rights advocacy under the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf government and describing himself as a “transformational advocate”.
Mr. Patricks was jailed three times by the Johnson-Sirleaf government and prosecuted on various charges which were either later withdrawn by government or won by him.
Supporters of the “March for Peace and Justice” in New York scheduled for Tuesday have been organizing via social media and phone calls. Organizers say they expect a huge number of their supporters from across the U.S. to converge on NY to make their position known to President Weah through their peaceful protest and calls for justice.
The co- chair of the peaceful protest activist Ms. Ysindi Martin-Kpehe said their event was purposely timed in anticipation of later arrival President in order to allow him ample opportunity to assess the gravity of their call before he delivers his address to the UN General Assembly.
Latest information indicate that Diaspora nationals of other African countries whose citizens were killed or maimed by rebels in the Liberian theater are planning to attend the march to support their Liberian counterparts in their call for peace and justice.
In a separate development, information obtained indicate that one of Liberia’s Representative to the ECOWAS Parliament, former warlord and TRC named alleged perpetrator Senator Prince Y. Johnson has abandoned plans to attend session because of international pressure for his arrest and prosecution for alleged atrocities committed during the war.
Source: Emmanuel Abalo