A group of Liberians have staged a peaceful protest in Monrovia to demand government to establish a war and economic crimes court here.
A group of Liberians under the banner Campaigners and Victims for Justice in Liberia took to the streets on Friday, 5 April in a peaceful protest, urging government and other stakeholders to establish a War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia.
The current regime of President George Manneh Weah which enjoys the support of former rebel leader now Nimba County Sen. Prince Yormie Johnson has since its inception voiced its opposition to establishing a war and economic crimes court here.
Besides Sen. Johnson, Liberia’s Legislature has some other well-known ex-rebel leaders like Grand Gedeh County Rep. George Borley and some key political players of Liberia’s bitter past that are not comfortable each time this call is made for war and economic criminals to be made to give account for the nation’s past.
In 2018 U.S.-based Liberians staged similar protest ahead of President George MannehWeah’s first address at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Over the weekend the protesters here presented their petition to the government of Liberia and international partners including the European Union, the United States Embassy and the United Nations.
Presenting the petition, the lead campaigner of the protesting group Mr. Emmanuel Savice says their petition comes as a reminder to a petition submitted to authorities 12 November 2018 from a group of concerned Liberians demanding the full implementation of the erstwhile Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommendations and the establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Court for Liberia.
Emmanuel recalls that on 8 May 2018, a group of Liberians under the banner Citizen Action for the Establishment of War and Economic Crimes Court for Liberia also petitioned the Liberian Legislature for the purpose of the court.
Despite these peaceful measures, Emmanuel laments that government has regrettably demonstrated alleged lack of interest in giving justice to victims of the brutal Liberian Civil War, citing authorities’ utterances.
He notes that perpetrators are masquerading with impunity while their victims helplessly watch in agony.
Emmanuel warns that while his group remains peaceful, one cannot rule out the possibility of some aggrieved citizens who might want to use other radical and unorthodox means to demand justice.
He however urges government to listen to peaceful people, and not those who might want to take arm and go in the bushes before actions can be taken to address problems being raised.
He reminds government that [over] 250,000 people lost their lives during the crisis, and no one is listening to those that are demanding justice for the victims.
Emmanuel continues that his expectation for the War and Economic Crimes Court is very high and non-negotiable.
Receiving the petition on behalf of the Government of Liberia, Assistant Minister for Logistics at the Ministry of State J. Emmanuel Potter thanked the protesters for exercising their democratic right.
He promises to deliver the petition to President Weah when he returns to the country.
Also speaking, a UN envoy who received the petition says the War and Economic Crimes Court does not need to come from outside, but it can also be done by Liberians, discussed by Liberians, put in place by Liberians and used by Liberians to bring closer to the question of accountability.
By Bridgett Milton –Edited by Winston W. Parley