If Senator Prince Yormie Johnson and other warlords in Liberia think current campaign for the establishment of a war crimes court for the country will eventually become a fiasco, they should think again as writing on the wall indicates those who bear greater responsibility for heinous crimes during the civil war here will face the law.
Former Liberian journalist and right campaigner Hassan Billity, currently working with various groups in the international community discloses in Monrovia that a war crimes court for Liberia could come in two and a half years to seven years, saying with certainty, “It’s going to happen.”
He made the disclosure Monday in Monrovia while on a talk show hosted by OK FM.
Senator Prince Johnson, leader of the dreaded (disbanded) Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) who captured and butchered President Samuel Doe to death in September 1990, claims he took military oath to defend sovereignty of Liberians, not the president.
He told his church congregation here: “We took oath to defend sovereignty of the people, not the president”, justifying why he publicly executed President Doe.
Besides Doe, Johnson’s brutal rebels, like the main National Patriotic Front of Liberia led by jailed former Liberian president Charles Ghankay Taylor, executed thousands of Liberians.
He has never expressed remorse for his actions, even up to now, but insists like many other former warlords in this current administration and roaming across Liberia that war crimes prosecution is not necessary for the country, arguing that it could lead to chaos, in apparent fear tactics.
And this is what they have been telling President George Manneh Weah, who had earlier been a strong proponent himself, including his party chairman, Mulbah Morlu of prosecution for war criminals.
However, Bility, executive director for Monrovia-based Global Justice and Research Project, says there will come a time when President Weah would have to decide between shielding former warlords and forward march of his government.
“Liberia should make a choice whether to allow them continue to feed of taxpayers’ money or say to them; we’re going to take the city keys,” he emphasizes.
He continues that Liberia may not have the choice, as many negotiations are going on bordered strongly on need for the establishment of a war crimes court, which he notes could create jobs for many Liberians.
On question of finances, Bility says the international community, including governments and multilateral organizations are ready to fund such court once Liberians make request.
“Part of our (national) budget is supported by international organizations, supported by governments and time may come these government would stop funding that could lead to serious economic crisis”, he warns. Story by Jonathan Browne