War Crimes Establishment gets opposition from lawmaker
One of the signatories to the 2003 Comprehensive Peace Accord(CPA) has expressed his concerns over the proposed establishment of a war crimes court in Liberia. Senator Conmany Wesseh of River Gee County told journalists on Wednesday that he against anything that runs contrary to the peace accord in Accra.
The CPA was an agreement reached in Accra in 2003 among all the parties that brought the war to an end.
The recommendation from the just ended Economic Dialogue in Monrovia called on the government to establish war crimes court and Economic court. The president of Liberia submitted the recommendations to the legislature for its advice.
But Senator Wesseh said he wants for Liberians to maintain the peace what has been upheld for years.
“I do not support anything which runs counter to the terms of the peace agreement that I signed onto as a guarantor and part of,” he said.
Senator Wesseh was one of those in 2003 in Accra, Ghana that signed the peace agreement which ended the civil war in Liberia. According to him, the establishment of TRC was part of the agreement but said, information released by any party to the conflict was not to be used against them in any court of law for trail.Flashback: former rebels in the Liberian war
The TRC was set up and completed its work few years ago. One of their recommendations was the establishment of war crimes court.
According to article xiii of the peace accord, under Truth and Reconciliation Commission section, A Truth and Reconciliation Commission shall be established to provide a forum that will address issues of impunity, as well as an opportunity for both the victims and perpetrators of human rights violations to share their experiences, in order to get a clear picture of the past to facilitate genuine healing and reconciliation.
It further added, “In the spirit of national reconciliation, the Commission shall deal with the root causes of the crises in Liberia, including human rights violations. This Commission shall, among other things, recommend measures to be taken for the rehabilitation of victims of human rights violations.”
Senator Wesseh said, Liberians have been at peace for almost 16 years. “We have demonstrated that level of peace. Once we signed that peace agreement, more than 16 years now, we kept the peace and did not go back to war, so, unless somebody is going to tell me that we are failing to do the new thing that we need to.”
He said, part of the agreement was not to set up war crimes court. According to article xxxiv of the CPA, it called on the Transitional government at the time to grant amnesty.
“The NTGL(National Transitional Government of Liberia) shall give consideration to a recommendation for general amnesty to all persons and parties engaged or involved in military activities during the Liberian civil conflict that is the subject of this Agreement.”President George Weah
Senator Wesseh further said, “I am one of them to say that we must assure to keep our country safe to go by the rule of law. Let us show justice . Again the agreement said, the TRC said whatever information you gave, it will not be used against them in a trial.”
“I am saying let us try to keep to that compromise. They were guaranteed that it was done in confidence. In such, it should not be used against them in a trial. Let us try to keep to that compromise. There is a cost factor to it establishing war crimes.” TNR