Campaigners for the establishment of war and economic crimes court for Liberia today, Friday, March 5, 2019 as early as 9am marched the principle streets of Monrovia symbolically partitioning the Government of Liberia and the international community for their voices to be heard in their quest for perpetrators concerned to be brought to justice.
The campaigners with placards called on President George Manneh Weah to see reason for the establishment of an ad-hoc court in Liberia to try those mentioned in the TRC report as having committed war and economic crimes in Liberia.
“If for nothing else, we want to beseech you to work hard at protecting the peace and ensuring that justice prevails for all, which you can appreciate in the long run as a defining legacy of your administration”, the letter read.
The statement lamented that warring factions used massacres, rape, torture and other forms of inhumane treatment as weapons to intimidate and terrorize civilians during the intermittent civil wars between 1989 and 2003.
In total, the TRC recorded 163615 violations, among them, cannibalism, massacre, summary execution, torture, rape, abduction, among others, and recommended the setting up of an extraordinary criminal court to prosecute those who committed serious crimes against humanity during the civil war.
Protestors expressed regrets that former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf “cleverly and intentionally turned a blind eye and refused to implement the TRC recommendations”, while at the same time cautioning President Weah against following suit.
They believe that continuous ignoring of the need to have war actors and other perpetrators to account for their actions undermines peace and stability.
One of those participating in today’s march was the President of the Liberia Massacre Survivors’ Association, Peterson Sonya, who said the call for the establishment of a war and economic crimes court in Liberia is an unwavering campaign.
“Even Nimba County, where I hail from, is prepared for the war crimes court; people are having misconceptions about how Nimbaians feel about the court”, he stressed.
Friday’s march for the setting up an extraordinary criminal court to prosecute war criminals is the second in less than five months, after a previous one on November 12, 2018.
Since taking office over one year ago, President George Manneh Weah and his CDC government has so far failed to commit themselves to the establishment of a war and economic crimes court, despite mounting pressure from various civil society and political groups.
Other findings in the TRC report are: “The massive wave of gross violations and atrocities assumed a systematic pattern of abuse.
All factions committed gender based violence against women and recruited children to participate in acts of violence.
“External state actors in Africa, North America and Europe participated, supported, aided, abetted, conspired and instigated violence, war and regime change for political, economic and foreign policy advantages and gains (Consolidated Final Report, Vol. II, p. 18).”
The TRC advised for the establishment of an Extraordinary Criminal Tribunal for Liberia and named individuals, corporations and institutions recommended for prosecution or, in some cases, for further investigation.
The commission also included a list of individuals recommended to be barred from holding public office for thirty years (including President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf).
The commission urged the Government of Liberia to guarantee the full enjoyment of social, economic and cultural rights, in addition to civil and political rights.
The TRC’s report called for the establishment of a National Palava Hut Forum as a complementary tool for justice and national reconciliation. The commission recommended that the Palava Hut process be based on traditional dispute resolution mechanisms. Persons recommended for prosecution in the TRC Report for the commission of international crimes would not be entitled to be pardoned through the Palava Hut process.
The TRC recommended that the Government of Liberia assumes its full responsibility under international law to provide reparations for all those individuals and communities victimized by the years of instability and war, especially women and children. The commission recommended a reparation program of approximately US$500m over 30 years.
The commission recommended general amnesty for children, and amnesty for lesser crimes in an effort to foster national healing and reconciliation if individuals admit their wrongs and express remorse. The commission recommended that institutional reform must be implemented to promote good governance and human rights, and to prevent the recurrence of abuses.
The TRC recommended to the international community to continue its engagement with Liberia and the sub region,” the TRC report adds.