-As Liberians Intensify Calls For Establishment of War & Economic Crimes Court; Deputy House Speaker Assures Petitioners; Sen. Dillon Says Impunity Must End, Vows To Lobby At Senate, Fmr. General Joshua Blayee Joins Campaign For the Special Court
Liberia experienced brutal civil war that claimed the lives of over 250,000 and millions of dollars worth of properties destroyed, but alleged perpetrators of heinous crimes and crimes against humanity are yet to be tried in a specialized court to account for their actions.
Following the war, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was established and the commission reported in 2009 and made several recommendations. Key amongst those recommendations were the establishment of war and economic crimes court for those who committed heinous crimes and crimes against humanity to trail. It also recommended some Liberians to be barred from holding public offices for thirty consecutive years.
But since the TRC reported in 2009, no concrete actions had been taken in this direction. Liberians are now demanding the governing Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC) headed by George Weah who once campaigned for the establishment of the court to make applicable what he yearned for.
March 3, 2020 Petition by Liberians:
On Tuesday March 3, 2020, Liberians under the banner ‘Liberians United for Justice and Accountability (LUJA) petitioned their lawmakers on Capitol Hill to ensure the full establishment of the war and economic crimes court in the country.
They trooped in their numbers with placards carrying various inscriptions “we want justice in Liberia, warlords must account for their actions, we seek justice for the victims, and our lawmakers must act now to ensure justice among others’.
The petitioners’ petition was received by Deputy House Speaker Prince K. Moye who was accompanied by Representative Acarous Gray of the CDC, Representative RustolynSuacoco Dennis, one of the campaigners for the court, General Martin Johnson, Sergeant-At-Arm at the House of Representatives respectively.
Reading the petition, Emmanuel Savice, one of the Lead Campaigner for the establishment of the court said they are not appealing for the establishment of the court, but they are demanding for the court to be established in the country.
Current Nimba County Senator Prince Yormie Johnson, Grand Gedeh County electoral district two lawmaker, George S. Boley , Thomas Yaya Nimely, Joshua Milton Blayee, Alhaji G. V. Kromah, SekouDamatehKonneh among others are recommended for war crimes court for allegedly committing heinous crimes and crimes against humanity.
Speaking Tuesday, Mr. Savice said “I am reminded when I look around and see Prince Yormie Johnson, George Boley and other economic vampires. We will not rest and we will be here every two month and we will engage the people in Switzerland because we are not asking, but we are demanding the establishment of the court.”
“If you don’t act on this document, there will be another war. It may not be us, but it will be victims of the Liberian civil war,” Savice added.
Savice also reminded House Speaker and stalwart of the governing CDC, Bhofal Chambers that he once campaigned for the establishment of the court while in opposition and as such; he must fulfill that commitment to the Liberian people.
Deputy Speaker Prince K. Moye:
Also, Deputy House Speaker Prince K. Moye assured the petitioners that their petition will be placed on agenda for subsequent deliberations.
He said “we chose to come because of the gravity. We already have over 50 signatures for this court. This will come on the agenda for possible actions.”
Representative Moye urged the Chairperson of the House’s committee on Claims and Petition and one of the campaigners for the court, Representative RustolynSuacoco Dennis of Montserrado County district four to act accordingly.
“Nobody is going to stand against the establishment of the war and economic crimes court for the betterment of this country,” Deputy House Speaker Prince K. Moye.
Joshua Milton Blayee, one of those recommended for prosecution:
Again, Joshua Milton Blayee, alias ‘General Butt Naked’, one of the ‘notorious generals’ during the brutal civil war, now evangelist of the gospel of Jesus Christ said alleged perpetrators of the war must be remorseful like him who has admitted to doing wrong.
“Impunity is what keeping Liberia down. Those of us who committed atrocities should be judged now so our children cannot be affected by our past actions,” he said.
As a Christian, Evangelist Blayee said truth is the only way. He said he has observed the rapid growth of violent in the country and it will continue to grow because of the acceptance of impunity that has been embraced in the country.
“It’s only the truth that sets us free. I want to admonish every Liberian that the only way we will enjoy true freedom is if we embrace justice,” he added.
Senator Abraham Darius Dillon:
Now Senator of Montserrado County, Senator Abraham Darius Dillon has been one of those Liberians calling for the establishment of the war and economic crimes court in the country.
When engaged by petitioners on Tuesday March 3, 2020, Senator Dillon said “now I am Senator, I will work with my colleagues because personally I support the establishment of the court. Impunity must end.”
NdabolorSingbeh, Secretary of the Liberian Senate:
Receiving the petition on behalf of the Liberian Senate, the Secretary of the Senate, NdabolorSingbeh said “We are overwhelmed by this petition. We are proud of you people. We will take the appropriate actions in a not too distant future. You elected your people and they must be accountable to your mandate.”
After receiving their petition, the petitioners congratulated their lawmakers and mandated to act swiftly.