Liberia: War Crimes Petition Resubmitted

Transfer of Charles Taylor for trial for war crimes in the Hague (file photo).

A group under the banner Citizens Action for the Establishment of War and Economic Crimes Court (CAWAECC) has resubmitted its petition to the House of Representative for the establishment of a War Crimes Court here.

Protesters led by Franklin K. Wesseh of CAWAECC and Siaffa Kanneh of the National Student Movement for the Establishment of Economic and War Crimes Court in Liberia earlier gathered on the grounds of the Capitol Tuesday, 8 May and presented their petition to the Legislature.

But the petition was initially taken off the day's agenda by House Speaker Bhofal Chambers on grounds that it was ambiguous and was addressed neither to the House of Representatives nor the House of Senate. The protesters were asked to make corrections.

Reading the petition, Mr. Fubbi Henries said implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommendations would also not only rewrite Liberia's history that culture of impunity is over, but it would also bring peace of mind to those who lost their loved ones and have been going through trauma from the impact of the war.

He says it would also serve as deterrence for future conflicts, adding that Liberia cannot have genuine peace without justice. The petition says the establishment of a War Crimes Court is inevitable, noting that even the heavens require judgment for "our actions" here on earth.

The petitioners believe that until the instigators of the war and perpetrators of atrocities face justice, the country would not be truly reconciled. They say child soldiers were used throughout the war, and some of those who are responsible for the commission of those diabolical acts against humanity are today holding very key positions in the Liberian government, making it somewhat difficult for the government.

However before this court is enacted into law, some of these individuals have to raise their hands in the Legislature to vote either for or against the establishment of the court.

--Edited By Winston W. Parley

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