Liberia: US House Committee Passes Resolution To Support Execution of TRC Report

Congressman Dan Donovan

Monrovia – The cause to establish war crimes court in Liberia received another boost from the international community when the United States House of Representatives’ committee on Foreign Affairs on Wednesday passed a resolution to support the establishment of a war crimes court in the West African state.

Report by Alpha Daffae Senkpeni  / [email protected]

In a Twitter on Wednesday, US Representative Daniel Donovon, main sponsor of the resolution, disclosed that the “Committee passed my resolution supporting full implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations, including the establishment of an extraordinary Criminal Tribunal for Liberia”.

He stressed that protecting human rights across the world is important to the national security of the United States.

“Stopping war crimes before they happen is just as important as to ensure that justice prevails afterwards. Without Justice, there cannot be healing for the victims and the circle of turbulence will become anew.”

The resolution further solidifies US-Liberia ties and support democratic principles, he said.

Donovon represents a 6,000 strong direct immigrant Liberian community on Staten Island and parts of South Brooklyn in New York.

His constituency is home to one of the largest Liberian community in the state, where many diaspora Liberians have been pushing for the establishment of war crimes court back in Liberia for crimes perpetrated during the 14 years of civil war.

“My constituents have directly told me how important it is for them that Liberia established an extraordinary war crimes tribunal,” he said, adding that the TRC report clearly calls for the establishment of war crimes court.

Donovan is a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs as well as part of U.S. President Donald Trump’s Republican Party and is looking to re-election after receiving the endorsement of the President Trump for 2018 mid term election.

With this, he will be able to influence the U.S. President to support the resolution to establish a war crimes court in Liberia.

The U.S. has been a strong supporter of the investigation of the crimes committed in Liberia and has collaborated in the investigation of international crimes committed in Liberia, not only as international crimes as such ( Chucky Taylor was the first person to be convicted using the Torture Act in U.S.), but also as immigration offenses, because of the fact of lying about what the people did during the Liberian civil war (v. gr. Jungle Jubbah and Thomas Woewiyu).

Weah Mum on War Crimes

The move by the US Congress comes as President George Weah remains mum of the setting up of war crimes court despite calls from thousands of citizens – home and abroad- and over 80 local and international organizations calling for the prosecution of alleged war criminals.

While many expected President Weah to touch on the looming issue of war crimes court while addressing the United Nations General Assembly, he opted to talk about a ‘National Peace Dialogues,’ which he intends to initiate throughout the nation.

“Our agenda is not one of division, but rather, it is an agenda that intends to provide an enabling environment for a united people to be able to benefit and prosper from the economic dividends of peace,” Weah stressed.

But the US Congressman recounted how President Weah himself in 2004 as goodwill Ambassador of the UNICEF, called for the establishment of war crimes court, stressing that “It’s time to put this into action.”

He also single out former warlord now Senator Prince Johnson, who he recounted is on record for torturing and murdering President Samuel Doe, referencing the “sickening’ footage of the mutilation of Doe.

“The presence of Johnson and others in the current government, we are seeing how Liberia’s slowly creep backwards towards the murderous mayhem of civil war’s days,” he said.

“Liberians are rightfully clamoring for justice, without it I feel there will be further violence and turbulence which nobody wants to see. This is why it is so crucial to call on Liberians and President Weah to established a war crimes tribunal.”

Human rights campaigners like Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe and others are pushing for the government to declare its support for the court to be set up in Liberia.

Some groups that have been leading the campaign recently, want the establishment of a special court to try war and economic criminals.

They include the Global Justice and Research Project, Coalition for Justice, National Student Movement, Flomo Theatre, Fubbi Foundation for Development and Sustainability, Citizens Action, Liberia Trust Communications and the International Justice Group.