-As Liberians Demand Establishment of War and Economic Crimes Court
By Reuben Sei Waylaun
The old Liberian adage that “Ninety-Nine days for rogues one day for masters.” is said to be right at the door steps in the country as citizens are now calling for the establishment of war and economic crimes court to prosecute those who allegedly committed crimes against the state and its citizens.
Charles Taylor, Prince Johnson, Alhaji Kromah & Sekou Damate Konneh
Liberians believed the day of the masters has come and are now demanding justice. The then rebels and those who allegedly committed atrocities fates now impending if the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) can be fully implemented.
Liberians from diverse backgrounds Tuesday assembled at the grounds of the Capitol Building to petition lawmakers calling for the full implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) final reports in the country since 2009.
The citizens dressed in black T-Shirts symbolizing bereavement trooped at the building with various banners calling for the full implementation of the TRC report which so many resources were used for its funding.
Flashback: War in Liberia
Among other things, they are calling for the establishment of war and economic crimes court in the country, saying in the name of justice, there cannot be subjection and in the name of peace there cannot be impunity.
Those banners carried snapshots of some of the gruesome killings of peaceful civilians in the country by those alleged perpetrators. They also carried several placards with various inscriptions regarding justice in the country.
The group of Liberians under the banner “Citizens of the Republic of Liberia” presented their petition on Tuesday to Representative Kanio Wesso of Gbapolu County District two for onward presentation to the plenary of the House of Representatives.
Reading a petition on behalf of the group, Fubbi Henries of the Fubbi Foundation for Development and Sustainability said “We are requesting the full implementation of the TRC’s recommendations.
According to Henries, this will help in reconciling the many aggrieved Liberians who feel justice has not been served. Bring peace of mind to those who lost their loved ones and have also been going through serious trauma from the impact of the war. Rewrite the history knowing that the culture of impunity is finally over. Serve as deterrent for future acts of treason. Reduce the daily trauma people face by seeing those who caused them serious pains and setbacks sitting at the helm of power and moving with impunity too.
The group wants justice for each and every Liberian who suffered injustices during the Liberian civil conflict which left many persons dead, motherless and fatherless.
“This is our cry, we want justice”. Hennries said in the petition.
He said Liberia cannot have genuine peace without justice indicating that the establishment of the war crimes court is inevitable.
He stressed that if the laws on rape, murder, damage of property, adoption, drug abuse, exposing kids to danger, looting can be applied now; they see no reason why the ones committed during the war are exceptions and should not be handled in the court.
They went on to say in their petition that regardless of how Liberians term it, those were acts of treason and the laws need to be fully applied to prevent reoccurrence.
Reading additionally, he said economic criminals who have been placed on records for misappropriating state’s resources up to January 21, 2018 need to be found and prosecuted individually adding that this is important to keep the current government officials in check and to let them know that the era of Liberia being an “Elephant Meat” is over.
They want what they call a total review of all the pending audit reports with no action need to be totally fast tracked and those who will be guilty of any fraudulent activities be dealt with according to the law.
“We will be back on May 22, 2018 anticipating your favorable response; because, Justice delayed is Justice denied! The culture of impunity must end and the future of Liberia is in your hands,” they added.
Also speaking, a female student who has gone with the team to ensure that justice is serve indicated that for too long Liberians who were killed, ill-treated cries has not been heard.
Madam Varbah B. Beyan said during the civil unrest, women and children were the direct victims of the evil that was witnessed in the country.
“I am here to call for justice for our sisters who stomachs were opened during the war to know what child they were carrying, I want justice for every Liberian who suffered at the hands of rebels” the female student indicated.
The petition was received by Gbapolu District two Representative Kanio Wesso and promised the petitioners that they as the people’s direct Representatives will ensure that it will be discussed but, when the issues was placed on the House of Representatives’ agenda, the Speaker of that august body said the petition was wrongfully directed and called on the petitioners to withdraw their petition and properly direct it.
According to Speaker Bhofal Chambers, the petition was directed to the National Legislature and not the House of Representatives.
Creation of TRC:
The TRC was created to “promote national peace, security, unity and reconciliation,” and at the same time make it possible to hold perpetrators accountable for the gross human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law that occurred in Liberia between January 1979 and October 2003.
Representative Edwin Melvin Snowe, Senators Oscar Cooper, Morris Saytumah, Benoni Urey, Emmanuel Shaw, Charles Taylor, Coocoo Dennis, Lewis Browne among others are listed for economic crimes against the state.
Persons Recommended For Prosecution For Gross Human Rights Violations And War Crimes.
Charles G. Taylor, Prince Y. Johnson, Roosevelt Johnson, Alhaji G.V. Kromah , George Boley , Thomas Yaya Nimely, Sekou Damante Konneh , Francois Massaquoi among others are listed for prosecution as well.