US Senator Young to Lobby for War Crimes Court

4
2304
Jeremiah Swen (left) said their relationship with U.S. Senator Todd Young (right) has been positive to the extent that the senator has agreed to sponsor the H.Res 1055 and also push it on the floor of the Senate.

-Discloses Alliance for Transitional Justice-Liberia

The Alliance for Transitional Justice (ATJ), a human rights group of the United Methodist Church-Liberia, HAS said they have established relations with US Senator Todd Young of the State of Indiana to speedily sponsor and introduce H. Res 1055–115th Congress (2017-2018), which the US House of Representatives passed on November 13, 2018, to be placed on the floor of the House of Senate for discussion and possible concurrence.

The H. Res 1055 aims “to affirm strong United States-Liberia ties and support for democratic principles, and call for full implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations, including the establishment of an Extraordinary Criminal Tribunal for Liberia.”

ATJ maintained that the Government of Liberia (GoL) has not fully implemented the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Agreement to date, including the establishment of an Extraordinary Criminal Tribunal.

The Alliance National chairman, Jeremiah S. Swen, made the disclosure on Sunday, May 19, 2019, at the inaugural ceremony of officials-elect of the Alliance. He said their relationship with Senator Young has been positive to the extent that the senator has agreed to sponsor the H.Res 1055 and also push it on the floor of the Senate. “This partnership seeks to encourage his leadership, introduction and sponsorship of H.Res 1055 passed by the US House of Representation on November 13, 2018 for the senate concurrence and passage into law by the US Government,” Swen said.

The US House of Representatives, among other things, agreed that that:

“Whereas, today the United States is home to an estimated 80,000 people of Liberian ancestry in vibrant communities across the country, who have been instrumental in America’s efforts to build a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous Liberia; Whereas Liberia and the United States share close historical, political, and economic ties over the course of a nearly 200-year relationship; Whereas the people and Government of the United States have a deep interest in Liberia’s democratic stability and post conflict development;

“Whereas the civil war from 1991 to 2002 resulted in the death of over 250,000 people in Sierra Leone and Liberia; the displacement of over 1,000,000 persons; and the horrific cases of amputations, mass rape, and human rights abuses conducted under the leadership of Charles Taylor;

Whereas Charles Taylor was convicted through the Special Court for Sierra Leone for 11 different charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, such as rape, sexual abuse, and slavery, and violation of international law, including the use of child soldiers;”

Whereas a comprehensive peace agreement was signed by the GoL, rebel groups, and political parties in 2003;

“Whereas the TRC as established under the 2003 comprehensive peace agreement, was formally created in 2005 with a mandate, ‘to promote national peace, security, unity and reconciliation by investigating gross human rights violations and violations of humanitarian law, sexual violations, and economic crimes that occurred between January 1979, and October 2003.’

Whereas the TRC released a report in December 2008, recommending the establishment of an Extraordinary Criminal Tribunal for Liberia and listed individuals, corporations, and institutions recommended for further investigation and prosecution, among other recommendations;

Whereas the GoL has not fully implemented the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Agreement to date, including the establishment of an Extraordinary Criminal Tribunal;”

Swen also encouraged Liberians throughout the country and those in the Diaspora to embrace justice as the sustainable vehicle for national healing, reconciliation, and sustainable peace.

“War Crimes Court don’t target a region, county, religion, tribe or family, but it squarely addresses crimes committed by an individual with his conscious knowledge and fully executed,” the Alliance for Transitional Justice chair explained.

On the issue of impunity, Swen believes that Liberia is not cursed, but that, “our failure to see the truth and pursue it is our problem. If we must succeed and surpass our prewar status, we must boldly defeat impunity, corruption and waste in our government.”

Swen urged the Weah-led government to establish a National Technical Committee that will comprise Civil Society organizations, the Liberia Council of Churches, Inter-Religious Council of Liberia, National Traditional Council, the Liberia Bar Association, the Independent National Human Rights Commission and the Ministry of Justice to timely develop a draft national roadmap for the holistic implementation of the TRC report, and the establishment of an Extraordinary Tribunal on War Crimes.

“We also recommend that the Weah-led government develops a National Colloquium alongside with international partners that will create the platform where representatives of the 15 political sub-division will be opportune to review the draft National Roadmap developed by the National Technical Committee and approve same,” Swen admonished the president.

According to Swen, Liberia is a founding member of the United Nations, and a member of the global community, “so we expected our leadership to honor and respect international treaties and resolution(s) signed in the interest of humanity.”

“Our government had contradicted the confidence and trust reposed prior to its ascendancy. They were elected by popular mandate of the population, so we asked them to listen and lead by the expectation of the people,” Mr. Swen said.

4 COMMENTS

  1. We can not thrive as a nation amid the culture of impunity; no nation has survive in the absence of the rule of laws. Liberia is the only country that is attempting to bury its hatchets by dignifying the perpetrators that hatched one of humanity greatest crimes: murder, plunder, rape, and incest. We can not have a whole-functioning society if our past that is riddled with violence and crimes is not adjudicated in accordance with laws of the land.

    Those who bear the greatest responsibilities for decimating the country in the name of war must be held accountable. Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Ivory Coast, Bosnia, and so many other countries around the world had all erected national theaters for justice and tried their war criminals, except Liberia. Posterity will never forgive this generation for glossing crimes with dignity and honor.

    For Liberia to be respected among the comity of nations, it MUST write the wrongs of the past through the administration of justice. No country will respect a country that award its criminals with state jobs for the crimes they commit. We have the likes of Prince Johnson, Alhaji Kromah, George Boley, et al enjoying the fruits of their crime as though the lives they destroyed meant nothing to the country.

    We did not have the war crime court in Liberia in 12 years because we had ELLEN JOHNSON-SIRLEAF as president of the country. She was one of the main pillars for organizing and executing the war efforts in Liberia. As long as she held on to power, the idea of prosecuting war criminals was off the table.

    Ellen would not have allowed herself to be prosecuted so she stonewalled every efforts to bring to bear true justice in Liberia. When she was about leave power, she fought hard to sponsor someone in person of George Weah whom she felt would be subservient to her as we are seen now. Weah is not a president that will ever advocate for a war crime court. He is a man with low IQ whose only interest was to become President. Allowing a war crime court to be setup in Liberia in Weah’s world would be tantamount to a betrayal of his predecessor. Something the likes of Weah will never do… to Ellen.

    But the truth buried beneath the earth is bound to rise one day… the day of reckoning is almost on hand for Ellen. God knows why He is still keeping Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf alive in spite of all of her evils. She will face earthly punishment on the face of this earth before she reunites with her maker for eternal confinement to hell fire. No matter her so-called connections in the international circles. The blood of those innocent Liberians spilled are crying out daily. Justice will be done no matter how long it is delayed.

    As a nation, however, we can not have true reconciliation and a respectable nationhood unless we bring our perceived criminals to book and that include the co-conspirators of the execution of the 1980 coup and the subsequent killing on the poles 13 men based on lies and misconceptions, the 1985 abortive invasion, and the 1990 war for power and wealth in the miasma of greed and sheer wickedness. The culture of impunity must be stopped and no time is better than now…

  2. A Zombie Parade

    in my understanding. It’s like Liberians are in a Zombie Parade: someone is remotely controlling the parade behind the scene. When the announcer says “move”, we move. “Run”, we run. “Talk”, we talk, on and on.

    1)As Mr. Todd Young is pressing for War Crime Court establishment in Liberia, can he please be sincere to find out how did Mr. Taylor ‘broke’ from prison in Massachusette?

    2) EJS spent 144 months as president of Liberia, not one day any one ever sneeze about War Crime Court. 16 months after election, the issue of War Crime Court is all in the air.

    Mr. Todd, please do not to put the cart before the horse, i m not backing any wrong doer, but we should not be in the business of CHERRY PICKING when it comes to bringing them to justice.

  3. Correction: fellow readers, sorrow for my type error.
    Please do not to put the cart before the horse, Should be: please do not put the cart before the horse.

  4. It is not late for us as a country and citizens of Mama Liberia to establish War Crime Court in Liberia. If the War Crime Court was not established in the last 12 years, etc., let us be reminded that the records are still on the walls of the victims and Liberians in general to prove guilty or not those individuals that allegedly committed crime against the citizens of Liberia.

    Let us be reminded that the establishment of War Crime Court in Liberia and the subsequent turning over of all those connected to these allegations is a major vehicle for peace and unity in Liberia. What I think we can do now to achieve this long awaited genuine and lasting peace is to jointly allow the establishment of the War Crime Court in Liberia.

    In fact, all those that are allegedly accused, examine your selves and if you are cleared or not of all of these allegations, you can politely contact the court and voice out your connections so that Liberians can pardon you.

    Genuine peace and unity is a must for the overall political and social developments of Mama Liberia.

Leave a Reply