Two groups of Liberians from various American States are converging at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to protest for, and against increasing calls for the establishment of a war and economic crimes court for Liberia, ahead of President George Manneh Weah’s pending addressing before the U.N. General Assembly.
Speaking on a live talk show Monday via mobile phone from the United States, social rights campaigner Vandalark Patricks, says Liberians from various U.S. States are today, Tuesday, 18 September converging on New York to protest before the United Nations for the establishment of a war crimes court for Liberia to prosecute perpetrators of heinous crimes during the country’s 14 years civil war.
He says it’s about time Liberians end culture of impunity here by making people to account for their deeds or misdeeds.At the same time a former lawmaker of President George Weah’s governing Coalition for Democratic Change Julius Berrian, also in the United States, discloses on the same talk show Monday that another group of U.S.-based Liberians believed to be sponsored by the Government of Liberia, are staging a counter-protest before the U.N. to reject calls for a war crimes court in Liberia.
“As I speak to you, we are moving from place to place, mobilizing Liberians to welcome our President to America”, he tells OK Fm in Monrovia, and reveals that some U.S. Congressional members are supporting the mobilization.
Mr. Berrian says over 1,000 Liberians from across various states in America, including Maryland, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Virginia are preparing to hold town hall meetings in the U.S. in support of the Weah’s administration, stressing, “It’s is time for Liberians to put away their differences and unite to develop the country.”
He discloses that President Weah is expected to address Liberians in U.S. State of New Jersey, saying “Our concern is how to give President Weah rousing welcome.”
“It is time for we Liberians to work together to make our country better”, the former CDC lawmaker adds.Officials of the Weah government are opposed to calls for a war crimes court. House Speaker Bhofa Chambers, from ruling Coalition for Democratic Change is instead, calling for retributive justice, while the leader of the disbanded rebels Independent National Patriotic Front Liberia (INPFL) Gen. Prince Yormie Johnson, now a senator and staunch supporter of President Weah, is claiming amnesty.
President Weah, a former UNICEF Ambassador for peace, was never directly involved in the civil war that killed several hundred thousand Liberians, but his government include several key actors from the crisis, such as Senator Johnson, and leader of the disbanded rebel group, Liberia Peace Council (LPC) now a lawmaker for his native Grand Gedeh County, Dr. George S. Boley, among others.
Recently, two U.S. Congressional members urged the Government and people of Liberia to support the truth and reconciliation process through full implementation of the recommendations of the TRC, including the establishment of an Extraordinary Criminal Tribunal for the country to prosecute war criminals and perpetrators of crimes against humanity.
In a resolution, named and styled US Congress H. Resolution 1055 – (115th Congress 2017-2018) introduced on Friday September 7, 2018 by Representative Daniel M. Donovan Jr., a Republican from New York, and Co-sponsored by Congressman Hank Johnson, Democrat, from Georgia, both Congressmen Donovan, Jr. and Johnson maintained that they support efforts by the U.S. Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development or USAID to advance Liberian efforts toward national reconciliation through continued support for the rule of law, effective governance, and the robust role of civil society.
Resolution 1055 was issued in the 2nd Session of the 115th Congress of the United States, the first public initiative by some members of Congress to have war crimes tribunal established for Liberia. Story by Jonathan Browne