Former Liberia warlord Prince Johnson
LIBERIA – It appears that time is out for people in the George Government who have been using government immunities to shield themselves from war and economic crimes prosecution, as the United States Government has offered to give funding and technical assistance to the establishment of a court to hear cases of egregious crimes committed in the Liberian civil wars.
Madam Beth Van Schaack, the US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice visited Liberian recently and said the Liberian government has to be accountable to its people and that the US government is willing to support through technical and financial means to establish a tribunal to investigate War and economic crimes committed during the Liberian civil wars.
Schaack came to Liberia to understand why the court has not been established as recommended by the TRC report.
She stated that the TRC report has some useful recommendations to address war crimes and atrocities.
We encourage those in positions of power to look very carefully at those recommendations.
“It is never late to dispense justice. The individuals who suffered the crimes are still calling for justice and those who represent them should look into those calls”, she said.
Schaack is a former practicing lawyer in the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. That is why top Liberian Government officials are afraid that her coming to Liberia, signals the beginning of the end of their bluff.
The Liberian Legislature that is supposed to pass the instrument to create the court is itself, infested with alleged war and economic criminals, as per the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation recommendations.
From Prince Johnson to Edwin Snowe, the list goes on, with suspected names of people who the TRC says must be arrested and prosecuted separately for war and economic crimes.
President George Weah has been playing politics with war crimes court issues; dining and winning with suspects, who many Liberians believed are procrastinating in passing into law, the relevant instruments to create the court.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has promised to stand with victims of civil war-era crimes in Liberia.
Schaack’s visit to Liberia is yet, the boldest indication of the U.S. readiness and seriousness to have war and economic criminals account for their deeds.
The court, if established, would hear the prosecution of any of the 98 perpetrators that the TRC finds responsible for various kinds of gross human rights violations and war crimes.
Schaack, who advises the US Secretary of State and other senior officials on issues relating to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, said it is time for the government of Liberia to be accountable to its people.