President George Manneh Weah’s response to Lofa County Representative Clarence Massaquio’s concern on the need to establish a war and economic crimes court for Liberia to stamp out impunity clearly indicates the President is less interested in prosecuting people who committed heinous crimes during the 14-year civil war. This means victims of the civil crisis should not count on the Weah administration to deliver justice.
Lofa County Representative Clarence Massaquio, speaking in Foya District, Lofa County over the weekend reminded President Weah that Liberians are hurt because they lost relatives, including parents, so impunity should not stand in the way of accountability and justice. The Lofa lawmaker, like many Liberians, wants the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendation for prosecution implemented.
“I know it is not common to say this. But Mr. President we have the report of the TRC, whatever forms they come Mr. President, those that are in those mass graves are not here today, on their behalf, we ask for justice”, he pleaded.
But the President responded to the lawmaker in the way he spoke which indicates that war crimes court is a far-fetched discussion on his government’s agenda, rather telling Liberians to live with impunity for the sake of peace.
Liberians both at home and abroad are yearning for justice and rightly so, especially when warlords and other perpetrators are publicly unremorseful for atrocities they committed during the crisis that left families decimated and dreams shattered.
Most key players from the war are back in government, including the Legislature. They claim to enjoy immunity or exemption from prosecution despite being recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for trial. They include notorious warlord Senator Prince Yormie Johnson, leader of the defunct INPFL rebels, Representative Dr. George S. Boley, leader of the demobilized Liberia Peace Council rebels, Sekou Damate Conneh, leader of the LURD rebels, and Professor Alhaji G.V. Kromah, leader of the disbanded ULIMO-K rebels, among others.
In fact, Senator Johnson, a staunch political ally of President Weah, continues to brag that no war crimes court is coming to Liberia and publicly deny that he committed atrocities during the war just like his colleagues Rep. Boley and Sekou Damate Conneh say.
So when President Weah calls on Liberians to sit at a roundtable to discuss how to forge the country ahead rather then call for war crimes court that could return Liberia to the dark days, you can understand that justice is going to elude us continuously, as long as this administration is in power.
However, the Holy Bible says the voice of the people is the voice of God. Liberians should never give up the fight. They should keep mounting pressure for the establishment of war and economic crimes court despite the apparent un-readiness by the government.
History has proven repeatedly that the will of the people eventually prevails despite attempts to suppress their views and trample on their expressed wishes for justice, which is the fulcrum on which peace that the President talked about, development and all other positive human endeavors rest.