Liberians Protest In New York

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Hundreds of Liberians in the United States of America are staging a demonstration near the UN headquarters in New York aim at putting pressure on President George Weah to support the setting up of a war and economic crimes court in the country.

President Weah is expected in New York to address the UN General Assembly.

According to report, New York authorities have given permit for 400 demonstrators to rally at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in the area on Tuesday.

The protest is being organized under the banner of “The March for Justice Campaign in the USA.

The pro-war and economic crimes court demonstration in the US comes in the wake of similar agitation back home, which led to a formal petition by a large number of Liberians to the Legislature earlier this year.

But President Weah and his ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) government is so far reluctant to support such calls, saying that this is not at the top of the nearly eight-month-old government.

They maintain that the government’s focus now is to improve the frail economy, seek support to roads and other infrastructures.

The Secretary General of the group, Kokpar B. Wohwoh said they are demanding the Establishment For A War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia, because “the 14 years Liberia civil crisis killed over 250,000 people, and displaced thousands   of Liberians  population in foreign lands. It was also marked by looting of public and private banks, burning of towns and villages, rapes, summary killing, murder, conscription of children into rebels’ groups, sexual slavery, attack on international peacekeepers and humanitarians’ workers, act of terror and enslavement It also ravaged the economy in all sectors.”

The 14 years Liberia civil crisis killed over 250,000 people, and displaced thousands   of Liberians population in foreign lands. It was also marked by looting of public and private banks, burning of towns and villages, rapes, summary killing, murder, conscription of children into rebels’ groups, sexual slavery, attack on international peacekeepers and humanitarians’ workers, act of terror and enslavement It also ravaged the economy in all sectors.”

In the bid that justice for the victims is assured, Liberians in country and those in the diaspora have resolved to unequivocally proposed the establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Court to prosecute those that financed and executed the war.

There is strong evidence that economic crimes or grand corruption were committed in Liberia during the civil war. The war was also characterized by illegal extraction and export of natural resources, especially timber, rubber gold and diamond, most of these economic gains were through the abuse of high-level power which had serious and widespread harms to many Liberians if not all. Corruptions on the other hands have become systemic in political and legal systems that were intended to provide solutions and relief for the vulnerable population.

The war in Liberia developed into a competition  for territorial  control and economic groups by six different  factions.The ultimate  goal  of all of the fighting forces remain a serious bid for state power and economic control. In Liberia, political power has always  been linked  to economic  gain by the governing  class.

It cannot be over emphasized  that Liberians across the globe are anxiously  demanding for the establishment  of a  War and Economic Crimes Court. There can be no genuine  and stable Liberia without justice for the victims;

Moving forward, the below reasons   are sufficient to  suggest the  establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia:

-To prosecute those that financed  and executed  the war, and achieve justice for the victims, promote peacebuilding and sustain  the healing  process as opposed to “let bygone be bygone syndrome, we are related I can prosecute,

-Liberians  believe that  the Special Tribunal will enhance equality of every Liberians  and  foreigners   before the law.

-That  the court will serve  as a genuine  investment for lasting reconciliation  peace building and stable society;

-That corruption  will be minimize if not eradicated, economic climate will be vibrant and abject  poverty will  reduce;

-It will   be a symbol  of hope for  the victims  investors and international  organization that would like to do business  with Liberia;

-Lastly it will deter Liberians  from suggesting  war as a last resolute for solving  national  issues since the war disintegrated  us and destroyed  the fabric of our society.

I am optimistic  that  the  planned demonstration  by Liberians  in the  diaspora, will serve as bost  to the ongoing pressure being exerted on the Coalition  For Democracy Change (CDC) led government  by local groups   and international and Human Rights organizations to approve the  establishment  of the court.

This  nonaggression  engagements will help president Weah to reshape his reckless  statements of protecting  Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf  and families above other Liberians. Second we hope that president  Weah will change his decision to prosecute  war criminals and corrupt  official as opposed  to his recent statement  that he will not “prosecute  anyone that commits  crimes against  the state because we are all  related”

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