Liberia’s war crimes prime suspect Senator Prince Yormie Johnson is becoming vicious and dreadful by the day, reminiscent of his war era, threatening to go after just about anyone and everyone, including his own kinsmen who dare support calls here for the establishment of a war crimes tribunal for Liberia.
The court would enable ex-rebel leaders and generals face prosecution for atrocities committed during the 14 years Liberian Civil War that left 0ver 200,000 people dead, including women and children.
But even before the suggestion is approved by Liberians and the International community, Senator PYJ, leader of the defunct Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) rebels has gone wild, threatening to mobilize men armed with single barrel guns into the bushes to resist his indictment and subsequent arrest for prosecution for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
He also threatened recently to target homes of three of his kinsmen, including Nimbe County Lawmakers Larry P. Younquoi, Samuel G.Korga and Cllr.Tiawan Gongloe for their alleged involvement in the campaign for a war crimes tribunal for Liberia. As if this weren’t enough, Senator PYJ issued his latest threat fortnight ago to shut down community radio stations in Nimba, for giving air times to critics to bad mouth him.
Apparently paranoid by news of the coming of war crimes tribunal for Liberia where he may be dragged to court to account for heinous murders and massacres committed under his command and watch, PYJ has adapted scarce tactics to subject the entire population here to silence while impunity flourishes.
But this time around, we tell him in the face that it’s time to end the tyranny in him. PYJ cannot continue to have his way taking innocent lives and gets rewarded with political positions to live with impunity while victims of his abuses cry for justice.
We believe very strongly that real justice is in sight with the recent passage of Resolution 1055 by the United States House of Representatives, overwhelmingly affirming strong United States-Liberia ties and support for democratic principles, and calling for full implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations, including the establishment of an Extraordinary Criminal Tribunal for Liberia.
Resolution 1055, introduced by former Republican Lawmaker Daniel Donovan and co-leader Hank Johnson, is a strong signal from the international community especially, the United States of America, Liberia’s traditional and historical partner that the willful killings and destruction of properties under so-called freedom and redemption should end in Liberia to give way to genuine peace, sustainable development and growth.
Senator PYJ and all other former warlords in this country ought to have known that this time would come one day for them to account for their deeds – bad or good.
Therefore, we consider these threats as nothing but empty noise to distract attention from the substantive issues – willful murders, pillage, and corruption that have stagnated this nation for the past two decades and more.
Truth of the matter is, if we peace-loving Liberians don’t rise up now to join the international campaign to stamp out impunity, another vicious group could be waiting just at our door step to unleash similar terror with unimaginable consequences that posterity might not be able to bear. Our silence and inaction today could feed such bleak future.