Liberia’s Nobel laureate Leymah Gbowee has expressed support for the establishment of an economic and war crimes court in Liberia to hold to account those who bear the greatest responsibility for the commission of war and economic crimes during the 14-year bloody civil conflict. Gbowee, who won the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize along with former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, said the call for a war crimes court in Liberia is a legitimate one and must be taken seriously.
Gbowee once served former President Sirleaf as head of the Peace and Reconciliation Commission but resigned, charging the former president of not being committed to reconciliation. She said what Liberia needs now is a leader with the political will to bring about a genuine reconciliation.
She said Liberians should view peace from a holistic perspective because there is a need to look at peace from the human security perspective where people will have their basic needs, educational opportunities, healthcare delivery services, among others.
“I was sad that we wasted 12 years under the Sirleaf administration; she had the opportunities to bring Liberians to a place of beginning reconciliation, but she failed,” she said.
She noted that Liberia needs a leader who will start the process of reconciliation which former President Sirleaf failed to do over the years. According to her, many may be ready for reconciliation but once the political will is lacking reconciliation will never be achieved.
This, according to her, was one of the problems the country has had over the years.
The 2011 Nobel laureate further said every country after a conflict is ready for reconciliation, but the question Liberians need to ask is, what aspect of reconciliation do they need? According to her, there has never been a national apology by any leader since the end of the 14 years of conflict.
“There is no way that we can overlook people’s quest for justice; it is a legitimate one,” she told the Voice of America (VOA) Daybreak Africa program last Monday from Washington, D.C., adding that her relationship with former President Sirleaf is like that of matches and kerosene.
Gbowee over the weekend served as a commencement speaker at the American University School of International Service.