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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Rights Activist Wants Urgent Establishment Of War Crimes Court

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In order for the Government of Liberia, through President Joseph Nyuma Boakai to promote the culture of justice and prevent future atrocities, a local human rights organization, the Reform Advocacy for Sustainability (RAFS) is calling on the United States Government and other international partners to fully support the establishment of War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia.

In an exclusive interview over the weekend, RAFS’ Executive Director, Joseph Sunnae Kannah said the establishment of the war and economic crimes in Liberia will ensure lasting peace and accountability; adding that “It is time to break the cycle of impunity and create a society where the rule of law prevails.”

He believes the establishment of the war crime court is crucial for healing the wounds of victims and victim families as well as setting a precedent against future perpetrators who may seek power through violence.

“It is disheartening to note that President Boakai’s two predecessors, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former President George Manneh Weah intentionally ignored the establishment of a war and economic crimes court,” RAFS Executive Director noted.

According to him, their motives were driven by their desires to secure a second term in office respectively using the influence of former rebel general Senator Prince Y. Johnson of Nimba County.

The local human rights activist lamented that their decision to seek the support of the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) General now Senator Johnson’s support and their political maneuvering undermines the pursuit for justice and perpetuates a culture of lawlessness and impunity across the country.

It is a known fact that since the end of the civil conflict in 2003, Senator Prince Y. Johnson has heavily support former President Johnson-Sirleaf, former President Weah and in the 2023 election he strongly supported the current President Boakai to the nation’s highest seat and his support to those presidents were to kill the call for the establishment of a War and Economic Crimes court.

Senator General Prince Johnson, like Generals George Boley, Joshua Milton Blahee, Thomas Yay Nimley, and others have exerted their influence on the political landscape of Liberia.

Senator General Johnson for his part, as a former rebel leader of the INPFL during the early 1990s, is playing a significant role in supporting Presidents getting them elected that he would manage the security of the country especially from a tribalistic perspective.

It is concerning that Senator General Johnson hopes to exert control over President Boakai and to intimidate him as he did with former President Weah and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. This influence poses a threat to the independence and integrity of the presidency, hindering the progress of justice and accountability.

Speaking further RAFS Executive, Kannah also noted that the establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Court will provide a platform to heal victims’ wounds and find a closure to their nightmares.

“It will also send a strong message to potential perpetrators, demonstrating that violence and corruption will not be tolerated in Liberia; by holding individuals accountable for their actions, the court will set a precedent that will deter future leaders from seeking power through the barrel of a gun,” he averred.

Meanwhile, RAFS through its Executive Director noted that due to the complex political dynamics and the potential for further manipulation, it is imperative for the international community to intervene and support the establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia.

Kannah also stated that the United States, European Union and other international partners have a responsibility to promote lasting peace and ensure that justice is served for victims of war and economic crimes across Liberia.

The Executive Director of Reform Advocacy for Sustainability (RAFS) and families are also victims who have personal stake in advocating for the establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Court.

His father, a former assistant Minister of State for logistics, Joseph Sunnae Kannah Sr. was tragically killed by rebel General Prince Y. Johnson during Liberia’s civil war in 1990.

This painful experience has fueled my determination to seek justice for all victims and find a way to avoid similar atrocities from occurring in the future.

The Reform Advocacy for Sustainability (RAFS) , a non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting justice, accountability, and sustainable development in Liberia has challenged President Boakai and the members of the legislature to establish the war and economic crimes court.

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