Hundreds of Liberians set to protest in New York, as President Weah arrives

Reports from the United States say hundreds of Liberians in the United States are poised to stage a demonstration near the UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 to put pressure on President George Weah to support the setting up of a war and economic crimes court in the country.

President Weah is expected in New York to address the UN General Assembly.

New York authorities have given permit for 400 demonstrators to rally at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in the area on Tuesday.

The protest is being organized under the banner of “The March for Justice Campaign in The USA.

The pro-war and economic crimes court demonstration in the US comes in the wake of similar agitation back home, which led to a formal petition by a large number of Liberian to the Legislature earlier this year.

But President Weah and his ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) government is so far reluctant to support such calls, saying that this is not at the top of the nearly eight-month-old government.

They maintain that the government’s focus now is to improve the frail economy, seek support to roads and other infrastructures.

The Secretary General of the group, Mr. Kokpar B. Wohwoh  said they are  demanding the  Establishment  For A War  and Economic Crimes Court  in Liberia, because “the 14 years Liberia  civil crisis killed over 200,000  people, and displaced thousands   of Liberians  population in foreign lands. It was also marked by looting of public and private banks, burning of towns and villages, rapes,  summary killing, murder, conscription of children into  rebels’ groups, sexual slavery, attack on international peacekeepers and humanitarians  workers, act of terror and enslavement  It also ravaged the economy in all sectors.”

The 14 years Liberia  civil crisis killed over 200,000  people, and displaced thousands   of Liberians  population in foreign lands. It was also marked by looting of public and private banks, burning of towns and villages, rapes,  summary killing, murder, conscription of children into  rebels’ groups, sexual slavery, attack on international peacekeepers and humanitarians  workers, act of terror and enslavement  It also ravaged the economy in all sectors.”

In the bid that justice for the victims is assured, Liberians in country and those in the diaspora have resolved to unequivocally proposed the establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Court to prosecute those that financed and executed the war.

There are strong evidence  that economic crimes or grand corruption  were committed in Liberia  during the civil  war. The war was  also characterized  by illegal extraction and export of natural  resources, especially timber, rubber  gold and diamond, Most of these economic gains were through the abuse of  high level power which had serious and widespread harms to many Liberians if not  all. Corruptions  on the other hands have become  systemic  in political and legal systems that were intended  to provide solutions and relief for the vulnerable population.

The war in Liberia developed into a competition  for territorial  control and economic groups by six different  factions.The ultimate  goal  of all of the fighting forces remain a serious bid for state power and economic control. In Liberia, political power has always  been linked  to economic  gain by the governing  class.

It cannot be over emphasized  that Liberians across the globe are anxiously  demanding for the establishment  of a  War and Economic Crimes Court. There can be no genuine  and stable Liberia without justice for the victims;

Moving forward, the below reasons   are sufficient to  suggest the  establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia:

-To prosecute those that financed  and executed  the war, and achieve justice for the victims, promote peacebuilding and sustain  the healing  process as opposed to “let bygone be bygone syndrome, we are related I can prosecute,

-Liberians  believe that  the Special Tribunal will enhance equality of every Liberians  and  foreigners   before the law.

-That  the court will serve  as a genuine  investment for lasting reconciliation  peace building and stable society;

-That corruption  will be minimize if not eradicated, economic climate will be vibrant and abject  poverty will  reduce;

-It will   be a symbol  of hope for  the victims  investors and international  organization that would like to do business  with Liberia;

-Lastly it will deter Liberians  from suggesting  war as a last resolute for solving  national  issues since the war disintegrated  us and destroyed  the fabric of our society.

I am optimistic  that  the  planned demonstration  by Liberians  in the  diaspora, will serve as bost  to the ongoing pressure being exerted on the Coalition  For Democracy Change (CDC) led government  by local groups   and international and Human Rights organizations to approve the  establishment  of the court.

This  nonaggression  engagements will help president Weah to reshape his reckless  statements of protecting  Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf  and families above other Liberians. Second we hope that president  Weah will change his decision to prosecute  war criminals and corrupt  official as opposed  to his recent statement  that he will not “prosecute  anyone that commits  crimes against  the state because we are all  related”

Above all, the victims of the war and Liberia first!

Source: NPT

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About Cholo Brooks 15387 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.