National Civil Society Council Openly Declares Support for War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia
Monrovia – As calls for the establishment of a war and economic crimes court continue to garnered grassroots’ momentum, the National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL) has become the latest to join the campaign.
The NCSCL is a conglomeration of civil society organizations across Liberia.
In a landmark statement issued in Monrovia, the NCSCL, through its Chairperson, Mrs. Loretta Pope-Kai, for the first time said the time for the court was ‘ripe and appropriate’.
“It is worth mentioning that the National Civil Society Council had strongly declared its full and unwavering support for the establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Court (WECC) for Liberia and the Council is engaged in consultative processes to this end,” the Council announced.
It continued: “NCSCL believes the time is now ripe and appropriate to fight the culture of impunity in Liberia and put to ‘an end defiant, unrepentant and remorseless’ postures of alleged perpetrators of war crimes in the full glare of victims of the country’s atrocities and gruesome acts of mayhems in Liberia.”
The Council’s call for the court was contained in the statement it released recently, where it called on the Government of Liberia to implement the series of human rights violations documented by the U.S. State Department latest human rights report on Liberia.
The Council said it has rigorously analyzed the contents of the report, and as a result quantified at least 143 human rights practices mentioned in it, some of which were gross violations.
The Council condemned the Government’s ‘lackadaisical attitude’ towards addressing the culture of impunity by implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommendations which called for the setting up of a war and economic crimes court to prosecute individuals responsible for Liberia’s civil strife dating back from 1979 to 2003.
Excerpt of the statement: “Also rated very poorly in the “2020 Country Report on Human Right Practices: Liberia” is the Government’s attitude regarding international and non-governmental investigation of alleged abuses of human rights, including gruesome atrocity committed against humanity during Liberia’s civil wars. This brings to fore concern regarding the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Report.”
The Council called on the Government to establish a war and economic crime court to fight the culture of impunity and to promote genuine peace and reconciliation in Liberia.
‘No Turning Back.
Responding to why it took so long for the NCSCL to join the campaign for the court, Mrs. Pope-Kai said they had to get the views of key stakeholders including member based institutions. Following series of consultations, she said the Council has reached a general consensus and was in full support of the establishment of the court to end the culture of impunity.
When asked what will it cost Liberia if the court is not set up, she said: “It comes back to a situation of a visual circle of impunity. A fight against impunity. If it is not established, then we don’t want to fight corruption or violence to include Sexual and Gender Based violence.”
She added that it was the appropriate time for the court because since the TRC’s recommendations more than a decade ago, past and successive governments have failed to include it on their agenda, adding “It has become clear that the culture of impunity has now become a defining issue for the advancement of democracy, development and prosperity of Liberia. Now that TRC has become a public agenda and that it is defining factor, this TIME IS MOST RIPE, and no turning back.”