As the reflection of the performance of the lawmakers continues to send sharp wave of absolute regret through the spine of the public, basically, the recent dramatic U-turn on the status of the establishment of the war crime court, by advising; predicated on a communication from President George M. Weah that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) be replaced by what they recommend as Transitional Justice Commission (TJC) is outrageous.
Based on the grim performance of the lawmakers to thwart the spirit of the TRC’s recommendations, specifically the establishment of the war crime court by siding with the Executive, has made the president of the Federation of Liberian Youths (FLY), Mr. Amos William to describe the lawmakers as ‘Dollarized Legislators’.
FLY’s President William told a local radio station in Monrovia of late that despite the disappointment in the lawmakers in working towards the establishment of the war crime court, FLY has vowed to continue the campaign for the establishment of the war crime court in Liberia and is calling on the United Nations in particular, and the international community in general to assist Liberia establish the War Crime Court.
Moreover, the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) has also vowed not to support or cooperate with the Legislative inspired Transitional Justice Commission (TJC) which replaces the TRC with emphasis on the establishment of the war crime court.
It can be recalled that President George Weah took a major step to bring justice for atrocities committed during Liberia’s civil wars by endorsing a war crimes court.
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 towards the implementation of the TRC [Truth and Reconciliation Commission] report, including the establishment of the Economic and War Crimes Court.”
Meanwhile, the call for the establishment of a war and economic crimes court in Liberia reached a significant milestone on Thursday when the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) and a conglomeration of civil society organizations submitted a draft bill for the establishment of the court to the Legislature.
The bill was crafted by the LNBA headed by renowned human rights lawyer, Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe as its president.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony at the Capitol Building, Cllr. Gongloe told the lawmakers that it was time to muster the courage and put an end to the sad chapter in the history of Liberia.
“If we, as a people do not take steps to hold people accountable, it means that first, we are co-conspirators in the killing of those people, and we applaud those who did it and are encouraging people to do more. Liberia cannot be a country where when you slap a person, you can be arrested, when you killed one person, you can be arrested and jailed, but when you killed 500 to 1,000 people or more then the society says that’s OK. When we do that we are encouraging people to commit more crimes.”
The LNBA’s president, speaking further, said it was time that Liberia follows the footsteps of Sierra Leone and Rwanda by setting up the court to end the culture of impunity and gain the confidence of the world. Because of the decision taken by the two nations, they are no more called fragile states and are regular and frequent location of foreign direct investment, he noted. He added that it is against this backdrop that the LNBA and the CSOs have formed a ‘historic’ collaboration to ensure the will of majority of the Liberian people is realized.
The CSO coalition, in a special statement said, guided by the lessons of history, they have a strong conviction that holding suspected perpetrators of war and economic crimes, and sexual and gender-based violence accountable is the best way to stop impunity and lay a firm foundation for the respect of rule of law in Liberia.
Sierra Leone and Rwanda, the groups noted, are shining examples of what happens when the end of conflict is followed by accountability, adding that “Today, the respect for rule of law is stronger in those two countries. As a result of this situation, both countries are experiencing progressive economic growth and development. Justice has now secured a culture of peace and made peace irreversible in those two countries. We Liberians, too, deserve a culture of peace in our country.”
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