Former warlord and now Senator of Nimba County Prince Y. Johnson’s (PYJ) degree of nervousness upon hearing about war crime court is desperately intensifying that he devoted a whole church service on Sunday, May 16, 2021 lashing out at those determined to ensure that the war crime court is established in Liberia to try all warlords including himself for their heinous role played during the 14 years civil upheaval.
As the bellicose posture rages on, this state of the war crime mood continues to pierce the conscience of former Field Marshall Johnson of the break away and disbanded rebel entity- Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) as he was witnessed charging back at his colleague, Montserrado County’s Senator Abraham D. Dillon who while on the Senate floor propounding the importance of the spirit of accountability regarding the zig-zag way the COVID-19 Stimulus Package was handled, and referencing the absence of the establishment of a war crime court wherein key players would account for their activities, has, and is making things difficult to get over the latter once and for all if the court had been around.
Going personal, Sen. Johnson disclosed it is due to the immoral activities of Sen. Dillon made him ‘dry’ like the way he looks and appears. He also denied ever killing one of Liberia’s promising musicians, Tecumsay Roberts despite being accused all along of allegedly killing the singer and dancer, instead attributed the murder to his deputy, the late Varney who according to him, killed Tecumsay while he (PYJ), was repelling an attack on his turf centered at the bridge. Interestingly for the latest startling revelation about the killing, the saga that Varney killed Tecumsay was made after the death of Varney, knowing that dead man can’t talk or testify.
However, Senator Dillion has made it crystal clear that he is not afraid of PYJ and vowed to ensure that he will add the establishment of the war crime court in Liberia on the Senate’s record for discussion without the least fair.
He also chided the Political Leader of the Liberty Party (LP) Grand Bassa County’s Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence of being a fighter of the erstwhile National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) in Bassa with Cyril Allen, but Senator Lawrence rubbished the claim and added that she has never been a fighter nor an associate of the defunct NPFL. Was it the table Sen Johnson has said he’d turn upside down? Asked some pundits.
Senator PYJ who is also a Preacher and Evangelist has earlier made it clear that those who are opting the establishment of a war crime firstly do not understand that the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) crafted in Accra, Ghana excluded all warlords with a pardon, and that he is no longer afraid of war crime; and he fought for the liberation of his people (Nimbaians) who were brutally hunted down and massacred by the Samuel K. Doe regime.
However, what PYJ has not digested thoroughly is jittery when war crime court is sounded is not the solution, as evident that while Charles Ghakay Taylor is serving 50 years in a London Prison, should clearly be a sober lesson that in a country where over 250,000 were wiped out due to a senseless war with people still grieving and bearing deep sorrow and broken hearts for the deaths of their people, cannot be swept under the rug of let by-gone-just-be-by-gone and let the living pick up the pieces of their lives and move ahead and enjoy the prevailing peace in the country.
Again, what Senator Johnson does not equally seem to deeply understanding is that there can be no genuine peace without justice, and in the absence of justice the stability of Liberia is totally fragile and surrendered to the might makes rights, as was exhibited some time ago when the ex-rebel generals mounted the political stage with their so-called self-styled organization sounding an ultimatum for a lawmaker to hand himself over to them or they would move on him, remains a vivid searing example, to say the least.
Earlier President George M. Weah took a major step to bring justice for atrocities committed during Liberia’s civil wars by endorsing a war crimes court, 10 Liberian and international groups said today.
The legislature should promptly establish a court in line with international human rights standards, drawing on relevant international support and expertise.
President Weah, in a letter to the legislature dated September 12, 2019, wrote: “I … do hereby call on the National Legislature to advise and provide guidance on all legislative and other necessary measures establishment of the Economic and War Crimes Court.”
But President Weah has since cold shouldered the establishment of a war crime court in Liberia citing insecurity and sometime shifting blame that while the previous administration did not set up the war crime court, and why his government.
Also speaking earlier, PYJ noted that it is now left to Liberians to decide as to whether the long-awaited war crimes court is established or not, as the strongest opponent against the court’s establishment, Senator Johnson said he is now open to impartial investigation.
PYJ has on previous occasions, branded reports of setting up a war crimes court in the country as a “fiasco,” maintaining that he was a free man and will remain so until the end of his life.
Sen. Johnson made the u-turn on Wednesday, January 30, 2019, on Prime FM 105.5 in Monrovia, and said he is not afraid of any tribunal intended to try perpetrators of the country’s brutal civil war as well as atrocities committed against over 250,000 innocent people who were killed during the civil wars of 1989 to 2003.
He has earlier called for the inclusion of the war “financiers,” naming former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as one of them and an unnamed former official of the United States Embassy in Monrovia as one of the collaborators that supplied his breakaway rebel faction, the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) with military hardware among others rhings.
Moreover, Sen. Johnson’s appearance on Prime FM came barely 24 hours following his war of words with fellow (now former) Senator Sando Daozoe Johnson of Bomi County, when the latter took the Senate’s floor to announce that during his constituency break, he spoke with his people in Bomi County, and they expressed displeasure about not only bad governance but also the government’s alleged reneging on creating an avenue for the establishment of a war crimes tribunal in the country.
Also, the President of the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) Cllr. Tiawon S. Gongole, a staunch advocate of the establishment of the war crime court strongly chided Senator of dividing the people of Nimba by cherry picking to ascend to political power instead of allowing the people to exercise their own will wherein he keeps imposing himself on the people as the godfather because he redeemed them from the scourge Doe’s killing spree.
Being a tough critic of former warlord PYJ Cllr. Gongloe disclosed that it was Sen. Johnson who killed many people from Nimba than even the enemies and hiding behind the cover of being a savior as totally laughable.
Cllr. Gongloe maintained that dialogue is the best way for Liberians to continue talking until they reach a final conclusion on how to proceed. He however said, that during these dialogues, Liberians must choose accountability over immunity. “Talking is a way of finding solution to problems, but let us stick with one voice on war crimes court, Liberians, let us not be afraid”, he told the gathering.
According to Cllr. Gongloe, the notion by some that a War Crimes Court will threaten Liberia’s peace is wrong. He indicated that impunity will lead to more destruction in the future.
Drawing his conclusions on the events in Rwanda, Cllr. Gongloe said people were killed in the 1960s and 1970s in Rwanda but the people decided to let it go until the situation escalated to a genocide in 1994 when nearly one million people were killed.
PYJ responding angrily to Gongloe’s continued call for the war crime court stated the “they are stupid including Tiawon Gongloe because those ‘damn” lawyers under Gongloe’s leadership should have kept mute so that if war crime court comes and some of us are implicated, we will look among them to ick lawyers that will represent us. War crimes Court will not be established. It is a waste of time”, reports FPA.
Meanwhile, pundits are cautioning warlord PYJ to be mindful of the famous Nuremberg Military Tribunals, and urged him to watch the 1947 Soviet film about the trials.
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