Liberia: Sen. Prince Johnson Condemns US Congressman’s Bill on Full Implementation of TRC Report
Monrovia – One of Liberia’s former rebel commanders now Senator Prince Y. Johnson, who headed the then Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) seems not to be perturbed in the wake of mounting calls for the establishment of a war crimes court in Liberia.
Report by Willie N. Tokpah, [email protected]
The Nimba County Senator appearing on Renaissance Communications’ Truth FM’s Truth Breakfast Show early Tuesday morning, told his listening audience that he is not afraid of the establishment of a war crimes court.
Mr. Johnson, who is regarded in some quarters as being one of the main perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity during Liberia’s civil war years, further stated that he is willing to submit himself to justice; adding: “We are not above the law and if any court is established, we will go there.
“Liberia is a country of justice and law and not man; everyone must submit themselves to justice. But remember now when we are seeking justice, we should think about our peace,” Senator Johnson warned.
While he talked about respect for the rule of law, he urged Liberians calling for the court to be established to be mindful of regulations and decrees approved in the past, calling for pardon of those who committed hideous crimes.
Senator Johnson noted: “Remember there is an Amnesty Law in the archives calling for amnesty to all factions and also the People’s Redemption Council’s decree asking for amnesty of crimes committed by warlords.”
He said it was now time that the country puts the issue of peace above things that have the propensity to set the country backward.
Registering his position on forgiveness for warlords, he, however, brags about being not deterred of appearing before a war crimes court if it is ever established in Liberia.
Apparently because of the sustained calls from Liberians abroad and at home for the establishment of the court, a member of the United States Congress has submitted a bill to Congress on the same matter.
On this, the former rebel general (Senator Johnson) blasted the submission of the Bill by Congressman Daniel M. Donovan (Republican). Congressman Donovan is calling, among other things, for the full implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations including the establishment of a war crimes court for Liberia.
According to Senator Johnson, without providing any shred of evidence, Congressman Donovan’s bill has been condemned by several of his colleagues.
“The man you are talking about is a Republican; he is staying in New York. Few Liberians went to him to convince him to come up with that and that atrocities were committed, he should help them. He has a friend, who is also in the same Congress. I am told that a lot of his colleagues in the Congress condemned it. We have people there,” Senator Johnson declared.
He expressed disappointment over what he called American citizens’ interference into happenings of Liberia, in spite of their close ties.
The Nimba County steward wants Liberians to be careful with US’ interference into happenings in Liberia, reminding them that the US only cared about protecting their citizens and not Liberians during the civil war.
Senator Johnson maintained: “Even if they (Congressmen) were to succeed, we are a sovereign nation, in spite of the fact of us being connected to America. We are a country of law.”
“Don’t forget that when the problems started, the American declared Liberia a danger zone. They came here and collected their citizens; we have to look at the future of our children and the infrastructure.”
Senator Johnson noted that the TRC’s report being used by Congressman Donovan as his reliance is clothed with irregularities, which according to him, led to one of its Commissioners, Cllr. Pearl Brown Bull, giving a dissenting opinion on the recommendations.
With several investments he claims to have in Liberia, naming a polytechnic in his native Nimba, Senator Johnson stressed that he is not interested in war and wants Liberians not to support the TRC recommendations.
He condemned the TRC report of what he termed as lacking substantial pieces of evidence to prosecute warlords. According to him, its commissioners excluded some of those who committed repulsive crimes during the Liberian turmoil.