-Over war and economic crimes court
Former rebel Field Marshall-turned politician Senator Prince Yormie Johnson of Nimba County and Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon are locked in war of words over call for the establishment of war and economic crimes court in Liberia to prosecute perpetrators of crimes against humanity and economic crimes.
The Chambers of the Liberian Senate last Thursday became virtually a battle ground when Senators Johnson and Dillon acrimoniously differed on having such court in Liberia as recommended in the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Sen. Johnson, leader of the defunct rebels Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia is among dozens of ex-warlords documented by the TRC for prosecution for their roles during the 14-year civil war in the country. But he vehemently opposes war and economic crimes court for Liberia, instead, favoring restorative justice.
According to PYJ, Senator Dillon is always in the habit of speaking of war crimes court whenever he sees him(PYJ) in the senate session.
“I will ask the Liberian Senate to give me a day in this Chambers to tutor you all with my involvement in the war. The people of Nimba were declared enemy of the State and they were butchered like chickens and goats, and we had to defend ourselves. If your want bring your war crimes court, bring it and don’t be opening your stink mouth in the Senate”, he told Dillon.
He argued that justice wasn’t done to the TRC report, adding that the report is full of fraud and irregularities. PYJ threatened that if Dillon doesn’t leave him alone, he would turn his (Dillon’s) table upside down.
He also launched a stinking attack against Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence, who he claimed was with Chief Cyril Allen of the disbanded National Patriotic Front of Liberia rebels so she should not be one of those speaking of war crimes court against him.
“We are talking about accountability here, when your were with Madam Sirleaf, US$30 million got missing from NOCAL, and she admitted; nothing came from it. I have been here for almost 18years, this Senate is a bulldog with no teeth, everything your talking here is faisco. Holding someone in contempt is zero, because many of you here after session will be found wining and dining with the authority”, PYJ pointed.
However, Dillon insisted the issue is about culture of impunity, transparency and accountability, saying that there should be accountability for the US$25 million stimulus package and also $25 million that was infused in the economy as well as a need for war crimes court, nothing that those are integrity issues.
“How am I targeting a particular person, the person who feels targeted is the person who feels guilty already. I have always spoken about war crimes court in the absence of Senator Johnson.” Dillon explained.
He vowed to continue speaking of war crimes court in session whether it angers Senator Johnson or not, because victims of the Liberian civil war deserve justice.
By Ethel A Tweh–Editing by Jonathan Browne