Liberia News: REJECTED!

By: Perry B. Zordyu

Monrovia-Feb-14-TNR:President Joseph Nyuma Boakai during his inaugural address pronounced that he will set up an office to consult authorities at the United on the feasibility of establishing a war and economic crimes court in Liberia.

But the President’s pronouncement on the establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia has not gone down well with some Liberians who have frowned on the establishment of the court and questioned its necessity at this time.

Many Liberians believed that the establishment of the court would deepen and reawaken old wounds of the past and also has the propensity of tearing apart the over 20 years of sustained peace Liberia has enjoyed since the end of the civil conflict.

Speaking to cross-session of Liberians including market women, motorcyclists, disadvantaged youths (Zogos), and members of the religious community, among others, the citizens vehemently opposed the establishment of War Crimes Court in Liberia.

“We are not here for anything that resembles war crimes business. We don’t want anybody whether government officials or private citizens to feel hurt again because the war we fought has since ended about 20 years ago and establishing a war court will just create another problem for us,” a motorcyclist vehemently protested.

The citizens also furthered, “Let us not reawaken the pains and frustration we went through anymore. It had since happened. Let the past be the past. We are all Liberians and some of those warlords have already realized their wrongdoings; it is better we let it be for the sake of our country and for the sake of the over 20 years of uninterrupted peace Liberians have enjoyed since the end of the war.”

They argued that at the time Liberians wanted the establishment of war crimes court, the government at the time did not pay heed and 20 years have gone by now. “Anything we do now to establish war crimes court will cause our nation to plunge into another round of chaos because supporters of some of these warlords are still around who will prevent the arrest of their former bosses,” Martha Brown, a marketer at Waterside Market said.

Like Ma Martha, many other Liberians are opposed to the establishment of a war crimes court in Liberia saying that many years have gone by and it is no longer feasible considering the time. “Some of the warlords have already died while others have aged and may pass off anytime, so what’s the essence of the war crimes court when there will be no one to prosecute,” Joshua Garsuah, a tricyclist averred.

But it is unclear as to whether their plea will yield fruit as others are pressurizing President Boakai to ensure that the court is established to prosecute those who bear greater responsibilities for the nearly 14 years of civil unrest that devastated every fabric of the Liberian society beginning December 26, 1989-September 3, 2003.

Pressure continued to mount on President Joseph Boakai for the establishment of a war crimes court in Liberia though some Liberians say this will undermine development and drive away investors.

“If we pursue the establishment of war crimes court at all cost, Liberia will never be developed. We have cried for so long for development and economic justice, and we believe with the vision of President Boakai it will certainly get on the way. So establishing this Court is not the solution for Liberia’s economic problem rather it will serve as a setback and undermine our development,”. Businessman Siafia reasoned.

While others including leading civil society organizations as well as human rights groups continue to push for the establishment of the court, others believe that establishing a war crimes court in Liberia will cost Liberia a lot in terms of financing the court, and infrastructure, among others.

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