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!