Liberia: Foya wants Justice for War Crimes
FOYA, LOFA COUNTY – “We haven’t ever spoken about justice collectively in the community; this is the first time. Since the TRC, no one has asked us about the past,” said the Paramount Chief, who welcomed the project to his town. “Most of the victims are here, not in Monrovia” he added.
The project, called “Justice in Action,” brings together performing artists and legal experts to perform a version of Musu’s Diary where the audience participates and asks questions. Musu’s Diary is a cartoon produced by Civitas Maxima to reflect the diverse opinions on justice and impunity in Liberia, while also sharing information about trials abroad against alleged Liberian war criminals.
Foya witnessed some of the most horrendous crimes; several village members remember being forced to buy pieces of human bodies. The body parts were carried inside a wheelbarrow by rebels and civilians were requested to buy them. If they refused, they would be killed.
Through Flomo’s performance to the 200-person crowd and subsequent discussions, victims are voicing their needs and worries.
“We need perpetrators, who are walking around us, to realize that what they did was wrong. I believe the way forward is for the perpetrator to go to court” said a participant of the discussion with the town chief.
In these discussions, an elderly audience member said “Liberia was sweet before the war. This fight for justice is not for us, it’s for our little ones.”
Despite the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report and its recommendations in favor of the establishment of a war crimes court, there has been no government action to establish a domestic accountability system for the crimes committed during Liberia’s two civil wars. This inaction is felt among the Foya population: “The last time I gave my story was during the TRC, but justice is not like being hungry and immediately eat – I’m hopeful justice will come”