-Deputy Speaker says not GoL alone
Deputy House Speaker Cllr. Fonati Kofa says establishing a war crimes court requires international participation, saying no country around the world has hosted its own war crimes court without international participation.
“I’m on record like any official that [is] in full support of the establishment of [a] war and economic crimes court here in Liberia,” Cllr. Kofa said Wednesday, 23 June at his capitol building office in a joint interview with several local radio stations.
The debate surrounding the establishment of a war crimes court for Liberia has intensified in recent times with some welcoming the idea, while others, backed by a decision of majority members of the Liberian Senate, support transitional justice over the war crimes court.
According to Cllr. Kofa, the only time he expects people to get angry with Liberia is if someone is invited and Liberia refuses to turn such a person over.
He argued that to pressure the government here over the establishment of the court is unfortunate because such a situation never happened in Rwanda, nor neighboring Sierra Leone and other countries.
According to Kofa, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has absolute jurisdiction over war crimes, reflecting that through the ICC, it decided to implement the law and former President Charles Taylor faced trial and is now in jail.
“Nobody stopping the ICC from exercising such jurisdiction they want to exercise as regard international war crimes for which people who perpetrated war crimes here in Liberia and those who bear the greatest responsibility will also be subject,” Kofa explained.
He said the act of establishing a war crimes court requires a holistic approach, something he says President George Manneh Weah has started, given the fact that he wrote the Legislature.
Rep. Kofa added the US$ 15,000 received by each of the lawyers here has nothing absolutely to do with the establishment of the war crimes court, rejecting a statement attributed to former Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Chairman Cllr. Jerome Verdier, accusing legislators of receiving 1.5 million.
Kofa said about 24 members of the House of Representatives have signed the documents regarding the establishment of the war and economic crimes court when the president wrote a communication to the Legislature.
He claimed that most of those that are talking about the establishment of a war and economic crimes court is using it as politics.
Kofa claimed that he foresees chaos in the future if nothing is done to address the issue about the establishment of a war and economic crimes court because there’s a whole process that must be implemented.–By Lewis S. Teh, Edited by Winston W. Parley