Amb. Schaack’s visit brings hope to war victims
By Lewis S Teh
The Secretary General of the Civil Society Human Right Advocacy Platform of Liberia Adama Dempster, says the recent visit to Liberia of U.S. Ambassador-At-Large for Global Criminal Justice, Dr. Beth Van Schaack, has given hope to victims of the Liberian civil war, human rights community and the entire country.
Mr. Dempster told a news conference in Monrovia that the decision of Ambassador Schaack to have visited Liberia was timely and has sent a message to individuals, who committed atrocities during the 14 years of carnage in the country.
Ambassador Schaacks’ works and portfolio are all tied around issues of law human rights and accountability. She arrived here and held meetings with scores of civil society organizations.
Dr. Schaack in her role advises U.S Secretary of State and other State Department leaders on issues related to prevention and response to atrocity, crimes, including war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.
Mr. Dempster noted that issues of accountability have been lingering in Liberia and human rights violations are yet to be addressed, as victims of the civil war are yet to receive justice and remuneration.
According to him. the issue of a memorial that leads to paying respect to those who died during the civil war hasn’t been done, which he noted, speaks volumes and falls directly on the table of Ambassador Schaack’s.
“We have advocated for all those things that constitute violations to be addressed through the international human rights law, so by virtue of those under international jurisdiction have to be addressed”, he said.
Ambassador Schaack’s visit to Liberia comes amid renewed calls from justice activists for the Weah administration to establish a war crimes court to prosecute alleged war criminals.
Addressing the Liberian media alongside U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Michael McCarthy during her visit, Dr. Schaack said she came to meet with major stakeholders about Liberia’s transitional justice mechanisms, especially implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations.
“As you also know, there has been no accountability here on the criminal side, or the civil side for those who have been most responsible for those abuses… I will be having some meetings with members of the government and I plan to ask: what the status of the draft statute is and why it is not being put forward; what are the blockages and how can the blockages be solved?”
Liberia’s brutal civil war was characterized by widespread human rights abuses including rape and torture, and massive killings. Editing by Jonathan Browne