Washington D.C. – The US Ambassador on Global Criminal Justice recently met with Adama Dempster of the CSO Platform in collaboration with Human Rights Watch and the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) in Washington DC. The meeting was attended by civil society, the human rights community, victims, members of Congress, senior Democrat and Republican Congressional staffers, and US State Department staff. The purpose of the meeting was to present a recent Resolution for the establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia.
By Mae Azango [email protected]
During the meeting, Mr. Dempster presented the recent Resolution, which was endorsed by civil society, justice campaigners, war victims/survivors, and the human rights community of Liberia. The Resolution highlights section 46 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Act, which considers civil society organizations as moral guarantors of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) with the responsibility to monitor and campaign for the scrupulous implementation of all recommendations contained in the report.
The Resolution called on the US Government, as a historic friend of the people of Liberia, and particularly through the US Embassy in Monrovia and the Office of Global Criminal Justice, to take action to support the establishment of a war crimes court for Liberia. This should include assistance to conduct a needs assessment on setting up a court that can conduct fair, credible trials of civil war-era crimes, encouraging a consultative process with the victims and survivors of these crimes, and delivering an unequivocal message to the Liberian government and the public in support of a war crimes court for Liberia.
In response to the Resolution, Ambassador Van Schaack tweeted on her official twitter page Global Criminal Justice, “Great to meet again with Adama Dempster and discuss civil society’s collective resolution demanding justice for Liberia. Impunity for war crimes continues to affect all of Liberian society and we stand with victims as they seek accountability.”
Mr. Dempster had the opportunity to attend the launch of the US-Africa Policy Working Group, chaired by Congresswoman Rep. Ilhan Omar, in Washington DC. At the launch, 20 Members of Congress committed to building partnerships with the continent of Africa. The Working Group will focus on urgent crises in Africa, such as the conflicts in Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as the rash of coups and instability in West Africa and the Sahel. Dempster also discussed the needs for justice in Liberia with Congressional staff on Capitol Hill.
“As the Liberia counts down to the 20th anniversary of the end of the conflict in August, impunity remains a stain on the country that is contrary to the rights and needs of victims and appears to fuel various problems in the country relating to respect of rule of law, including persistent corruption, mysterious deaths, insecurity, and violence. President Weah has an opportunity to deliver on longstanding needs ahead of the August anniversary by at last taking concrete steps to begin the process to establish a war crimes court. We are looking for him to do so,” said Dempster.