In Washington DC: Adama Dempster Holds Discussion With High Profile U.S. Officials On War Crimes, And Others

According to a dispatch from the United States Mr. Adama Dempster recently met with US Ambassador for War Crimes and US State Department staff, members of Congress and senior Democrat and Republican Congressional staffers to present civil society, human rights community, and victims recent Resolution for the establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia

The dispatch further revealed that between 8-10 May 2023, while on a mission to Washington DC, Adama Dempster in collaboration with Human Rights Watch and the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) held several meetings where he presented the recent Resolution reaffirming Liberian’s commitment to call for the establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia endorsed by civil society, justice campaigners, war victims/survivors and the human rights community of Liberia.

The resolution highlights section 46 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Act considering civil society organizations as moral guarantors of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) with the responsibility to monitor and campaign for the scrupulous implementation of all recommendations contained in the report.

The resolution in the consolidated counts 3 & 4, calls on the US Government as a historic friend of the people of Liberia, and particularly through the US Embassy in Monrovia and the Office of Global Criminal Justice, to take action to stand with victims by supporting the establishment of a war crimes court for Liberia, including through assistance to conduct a needs assessment on setting up a court that can conduct fair, credible trials of civil wars-era crimes, encouraging a consultative process with the victims and survivors of these crimes, and delivering an unequivocal message to the Liberian government and the public in support of a war crimes court for Liberia; and

That all efforts be made to emulate actions taken in the region such as the recent trial for the 2009 stadium massacre in Guinea, prosecutions for atrocity crimes in Sierra Leone before the hybrid Special Court for Sierra Leone, the Special Criminal Court in the Central African Republic, and the Extraordinary African Chambers in Senegal to deliver justice against crimes and atrocities including sexual violence, recruitment of child soldiers, torture, summary executions and massacres of civilians committed over the course of the civil wars-era that continued to go unpunished.

In respond to US Ambassador after receiving the resolution on her official twitter page – StateDept_GCJ (@Ambassador Beth Van Schaack, Global Crim Justice) Tweeted: Great to meet again with @AdamaDempster and discuss civil society’s collective resolution demanding justice for Liberia. Impunity for war crimes continues to affect all of Liberian society, and we stand with victims as they seek accountability.

In the aftermath of the presentation of the resolution and engagement with Congress, Adama Dempster had the opportunity to attend the launch of the US- Africa Policy Working Group- chaired by Congresswoman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) on May 11, 2023 in Washington DC.

At the launch of the US-Africa Policy Working Group, 20 Members of Congress committed to building partnerships with the continent of Africa. As stated in her opening remark, Rep. Omar said “The Working Group will be active on the various urgent crises in Africa, from the conflicts in Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the rash of coups and instability in West Africa and the Sahel.

But just as importantly, we will also spend time focusing on the continent’s many success stories, from Senegal’s extraordinary leadership in global health to the inspiring African movements for democracy and human rights. Representing Liberia amongst other African representatives, Dempster had constructive and insightful conversations with Rep. Omar and other congressional leaders on the future of Liberia’s path to justice, promotion, and protection of human rights and democracy.”

Dempster also during his DC trip had the opportunity to discuss the needs for justice in Liberia with Congressional staff.

As the Liberia counts down to the 20th anniversary of the end of the conflict in August, impunity remains a stain on the country that is contrary to the rights and needs of victims and appears to fuel various problems in the country relating to respect of rule of law, including persistent corruption.

President Weah has an opportunity to deliver on longstanding needs ahead of the August anniversary by at last taking concrete steps to begin the process to establish a court. We are looking for him to do so.

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