17 December 2012

Liberia: Trial Haunts War Crime Suspects

As Liberians remain indecisive about implementing the TRC recommendations calling for the trial of individuals accused of bearing the greatest responsibilities for war atrocities, the Establishment Coordinator of the Angie Brooks International Center for Women's Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security, Cllr. Yvette Chesson-Wureh, has asserted that "there can be no reconciliation in the absence of justice."

The erstwhile Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) had since submitted a damning report recommending the prosecution of several warlords, including former president Charles Taylor, Prince Johnson George Boley and Alhaji Kromah for bearing the greatest responsibility for the country's civil war.

"If people who perpetrated crimes against others are not brought to justice, the reconciliation Liberians are yearning for cannot be realized," Cllr. Chesson-Wureh warned in a statement in Monrovia Friday marking the end of a two-week transitional justice and peace-building training seminar involving delegates from Guinea, Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire and Liberia.

She wants the necessary framework put in place to provide justice to some of the crimes and abuse in the country, saying: "It those things are done, then lasting peace and reconciliation will be the establishment of all Liberians."

But, contrary to her stance, individuals accused of committing grave atrocities during the civil war and are now holding government positions, instead insist on reconciliation without justice in what they call: "letting bygones be bygone."

Cllr. Chesson-Wureh's concern coincides with the appointment of CDC's political leader, Mr. George Weah, by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, as Peace Ambassador mandated to reconcile the nation.

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