Liberia: Dillion, PYJ Spar over War Crimes Court During session
MONROVIA — Senators Prince Johnson of Nimba County and Abraham Darius Dillion of Monsterrado County Thursday plunged into heated argument over the establishment of a war and economic crimes court, disrupting the day’s session.
Sen. Johnson, a former rebel leader of the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) who is serving his second nine-year tenure at the National Legislature, captured and killed former president Samuel Doe in the latter part of 1990 as one of Africa’s deadliest wars raged against the first native president whose 1980 coupe ended over 130 years of Americo-Liberians’ reign.
Most agonizing in the eyes of those who watched the captured, tortured and subsequent killing of the country’s former president was the spectacle display Johnson exhibited as he sipped what appeared to be a Budweiser drink while chopping off Doe’s ears.
Since then, Liberians have been calling for the establishment of a war and economic crimes court to try those responsible for grave crimes committed during the country’s civil war.
During session Thursday, Senator Dillion stressed the need for the establishment of a war and economic crimes court during discussions surrounding the mismanagement of stimulus package funds during the outbreak of the COVID-19.
In his argument, Dillion said the War and Economic Crimes Court would be the only remedy to put in measures for people who manage public funds. “If we sincerely want to bring to check public officials who mismanage public funds we need to establish a war and economic crimes court,” Sen. Dillion said.
Dillion’s recommendation caused Senator Johnson to stage a walkout from session. He termed Dillion’s suggestions as “an attack on his character.”
“Every time Sen. Dillion sees me is when he talks about war crimes court,” Sen. Johnson said.
“What happened during the civil war was a revenge for our people who were killed in Nimba. Nimba county was declared enemy of the state; what did you expect us to do?”
Sen. Johnson said he would disrupt session if any of his colleague talked about the establishment of a war and economic crimes court.
“If you want bring war crimes court, bring your damn war crimes court. They always think war crimes court is about Prince Johnson. There are legal processes to bring a war and economic crimes court,” he said. I am a preacher, the Bible says Jesus turned tables outside down and I will turn Dillon’s tables outside down the day he mentions about war crimes court.”
In 2019, Senator Johnson raised similar issue with the Senate when he displayed a threatening text he claimed was sent to him by Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee. In the text, according to him Koijee, threatened to support a war crimes court if he attempted to swap support from the CDC to the opposition.