-Weah urges lawmakers
President George Manneh Weah urges Liberian lawmakers supporting calls for the establishment of war and economic crimes court for the country to put the Truth and Reconciliation Commission final report currently before the 54th Legislature on the floor for public debate. President Weah calls on Liberians to pressurize their lawmakers to open the TRC recommendation for debate in order to derive a definite position on the matter.
The President’s call was in response to concern raised last week in Kolahun, Lofa County by Representative Clarence Massaquio about justice for victims of the Liberian Civil War. Rep. Massaquio raised the issue while President Weah was touring the county.
“So I listen every day, some people asked for war crimes court; they asked for this and that, but they need to explain to you the detail of the document. The document is available; they need to come to you and explain; Is this what you want? We all are hurting; this is our country. What happened to us, it shouldn’t have happened”, says Mr. Weah.
He challenges Rep. Massaquio, who formed part of the President’s visit to Lofa County, to write the leadership of the Liberian Legislature, asking for the TRC document to be brought on the floor for debate so that Liberians can decide whether they want restorative or retributive justice.The TRC final report recommends prosecution for actors who bear greater responsibility for heinous crimes and crimes against humanity.
The report contains major findings on root causes of the civil conflict, and its impact on women, children and the generality of the Liberian society, responsibility for massive commission of Gross Human Rights Violations and violation of International Humanitarian Law, International Human Rights Law as well as Egregious Domestic Law Violation. It was formally released to the Government of Liberia on December 9, 2009 under the administration of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
“The war crime court has a document; they’re going to look at it. They are in the parliament (Legislature). Tell them to go to the parliament (Legislature) and bring it back and find a solution to the document and get all the international partners that want to see and let us go to it. No one is afraid here”, President Weah adds.
In September 2019, President Weah sent a letter to thelegislature, asking lawmakers “to advise and provide guidance on all legislative and other necessary measures towards the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, including the establishment of the Economic and War Crimes Court.
“As President of the Republic of Liberia, I am committed to a holistic implementation of the National Consensus (recommendations of the dialogue) and do hereby call on the National Legislature to advise and provide guidance on all legislative and other necessary measures towards the implementation of the TRC report, including the establishment of war and economic crime courts,” the President communicated in a letter to Speaker Bhofal Chambers, stressing that “accountability of past human rights violations are essential ingredients for sustainable peace and achievement of inclusive development”, Mr. Weah noted.