Gov’t Dodges Creation Of War Crime Court -Despite Replacing It With Bogus Transitional Justice Commission; Just What Is Its Fear?


After twelve consecutive years in the opposition community, championing all the nerve wrecking protests massively; being at the forefront of the establishment of the war crime court without compromise, displaying the highest level of imbued firebrand of militancy , knowing that the simple political philosophy reveals that an opposition political party is a government in waiting, surely, it should have appeal to you and your team of political crusaders, that one day, you and your institution will be ushered in to provide national leadership as the next sitting government.

However, and interestingly, after the political dream of your political party- the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) became a living and vivid reality with the enshrined credo or slogan of hope for change or change for hope which flew all over the place upon transitioning from opposition to the government of the day, quickly shifted gear, heartlessly summersaulted  and reneged on what was considered one of the key planks of your political platform- the establishment of the war crime court thereby sending a no-nonsense signal to impunity in all its forms. classes, manner and styles with strict opportunity for the complete function of the due process of the law without fear or favor, where the accused of wrong doings can freely have their day in court from where they could exonerate themselves or feel the wrath of the law for their role played during the 14 years of the bloodletting in Liberia.

But with all the conning moves and pseudo-tactical maneuvering   by sending to the Legislature a politically fake version of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) brand of chain of recommendations in its document wherein the establishment of the war crime court is cardinal; to advise the him (President George M. Weah) the way forward; a renowned human rights lawyer and president of the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA), Cllr. Tiawon S. Gongloe made it clear that the TRC Article 10 states that it is the President who must implement the execution of the establishment of the war crime court and not the Legislature. Pundits now  maintained that again, it  openly shows that the government is dodging the establishment of the war crime court it once campaigned and  championed for its existence; and now it is foolhardy to see the once advocate, is now struggling to establish  more badly watered down and particularly different version of the recommendations in the TRC manifesto , which totally usurps, gross disrespect to the people, victims and relatives including love ones of the murdered, adding that there can be no genuine peace without firstly ensuring an unhindered justice.

Indeed, as substitute to the savagely manufactured recommendation submitted to the Legislature or advise, pundits indicated that no living human being with God’s created body, mind, heart and soul would elect to add more insult to injury by even thinking the least, about drafting such an inhumane and draconian piece document that uprightly down played the vital essence of justice, thereby rewarding impunity immensely for undermining the divine constitution of creation and the precious gift of life which  no one has the right to take way from the beholder without justified reason that can be decided in the court of competent jurisdiction inspired by due process propelled by the rule of law..

A former commissioner of the TRC Ms. Massa Washington responding to the passage of the Transitional Justice by The Senate as shameful and added that the Senate will have to undo a whole lot of institutions set up by the Accra Comprehensive Accord  which sanctioned he creation of those entities including the TRC as a pre-condition  toward the way forward. She noted that based on their shameful performance, the people should punish all of the who will be seeking re-elections.

Moreover, the Senate’s recommendations to President Weah include the establishment of a Transitional Justice Commission (TJC) to:

Determine why the TRC Recommendations have not been fully and timely implemented;

To determine whether the TRC fully complied with its mandate, such as face-to-face meeting between perpetrators of crimes and other offenses and their respective victims;

To examine the effect of the August 2003 Act of Legislature which granted general amnesty to all participants of the civil crisis;

To analyze credibility/legitimacy issues surrounding the Final Report of the TRC in respect of the fact that four of the Commissioners had serious issues with the Report and consequently, two of the Commissioners did not sign the Final Report, but instead presented a dissenting report;

To examine the effect of the ratification/accession of Liberia to the Rome Statute in 2004 (after the end of the civil crisis) on the establishment of a war crimes court;

To consider the separation of the establishment of war crimes court which has international dimension from the establishment of an economic crimes court which already exists within the Liberia’s Judiciary and for which prosecution can take place using domestic law;

To consider the effect of the constitutional and other legal implications of prosecuting war crimes at a war crimes court when domestic laws and criminal court for the same offenses exists and to also consider the constitutional implementations of appeals from the decision from a war crimes court, as the Constitution provides that the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of all legal proceedings and every person has absolute and unfettered right of appeal to the Supreme Court;

At the same time, the setting up of the Transitional Justice Commission to replace the TRC sharply runs contrary to  the demand of the people who continue to yearn for the establishment of the war crime court for Liberia where justice will be done to thousands of victims, and are appealing day and night to the international community to help in making their humble appeal a reality; as most of the warlords occupying elected positions and other high public offices,  are fighting back to ensure that no war crime is established for Liberia.

-Writes GDJ

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