Liberia: War Crimes Court Bill Lands At Capitol

Written by E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor Source: The New Dawn
Calls for the establishment of a war crimes court here seems to be gaining momentum with the submission of a bill before the House of Representatives, requesting for the formation of such court to prosecute ex-warlords and others who played major role during the country’s crisis period.

Grand Bassa County Representative Byron Brown presented a draft bill to the House of Representatives Tuesday through plenary, calling for the establishment of a war crimes court for Liberia.

Brown, who got elected on the ticket of the opposition Liberty Party during the 2011 elections, said the ultimate purpose of the bill is to sustain the peace, achieving genuine national reconciliation and moving ahead with the national developmental agenda, unhindered.

“This has become the most prudent thing for us to do, my colleagues. It is said that giving aggressors an inch of the way does trigger in [them] false sense of greatness, thereby propelling such aggressors to an unending series of aggressions against the vulnerable of society”, he stressed.  

Brown noted that the Liberian Civil Conflict produced many aggressors, both within and outside the nation’s frontiers, who committed some of the worst crimes against humanity.

“Some of them planned, financed, supervised and executed the wanton destruction of our country and its human resource.

Today, they seem to be clinging to the mistaken belief that their actions against the nation and its people were justified. Even the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that was suggested, as a bridge to the future has been trampled upon, as its recommendations are being thrown into the dust bin, where than do we go for justice,?” the Grand Bassa lawmaker told plenary Tuesday in a determined tune. 

He said as a result, Liberians are kept in perpetual poverty, while the alleged perpetrators and their reported conies mellow in the resources of the state with demonstrated arrogance.

“It rests upon our shoulders as representatives of the people, to move to avert the potential re-occurrence of our national nightmare by taking practical steps to restrain the aggressors.
One way to do this is by unwaveringly enacting a law that specifically deals with the issue of war crimes committed in Liberia. This will be sufficient deterrence for re-entrance into the theater of conflict with disproportionate consequence”, he concluded.

The Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommended prosecution of ex-warlords and generals, who allegedly committed heinous crimes during the 14-year civil crisis, but the TRC recommendations, are being politicized. Meanwhile, the bill has been sent to the Judiciary, and Ways, Means and Finance committees to report to plenary in the shortest possible time.

Calls for the establishment of a war crimes court have been repeated time to time, beginning with lead campaigner Mulbah Morlu, who paraded caskets in the streets of Monrovia during a visit here by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Morlu however seems to have abandoned his campaign after he publicly lied that he met with President Obama in Ghana on the matter.

Liberian human rights lawyer Dempster Brown recently announced that he’s submitting a bill to the Liberian Legislature for the creation of a war crimes court.


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