Monrovia – A member of the House of Representatives who signed a resolution seeking the establishment of a war crime court in Liberia, Representative Ivar Jones, says calls and actions for the prosecution of war perpetrators and criminals should not be limited to a specific group of Liberians.
Report by Obediah Johnson, [email protected]
Lawmaker Jones is representing the people of electoral district # 2 in Margibi County.
According to him, the application of justice goes beyond the names and portfolios of individuals, and as such, Liberians should desist from naming particular individuals as those that will be prosecuted and jailed for atrocities and mayhem perpetrated against Liberians during decades of civil wars when the court is established.
He made these comments in an interview with reporters in Monrovia over the weekend.
He underscored that Liberians should holistically call for the formation of the court, avoid naming individuals, and accord those accused in the recommendations contained in the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) the opportunity to exonerate themselves before the court.
Representative Jones maintained that the dispensation of justice which does not look at the names of individuals, but the magnitude of the crime or act committed, makes the establishment of the court to be more than an individual or a specific group of war perpetrators.
He justified that it is possible that some of those warlords being stereotyped in their respective communities would be exonerated or set freed when the court is established and therefore, citizens should desist from bullying those TRC indictees.
The Margibi County lawmaker furthered that though the establishment of the court cannot be swept under the carpet, it is prudent for those accused of being responsible for the over 14-years of civil unrest to exonerate themselves by supporting calls for the court formation.
He believed that these war perpetrators and criminals risked being embarrassed both national and international for the rest of the lives, if the establishment of a war crime court for Liberia is delayed
“Whenever the war crime court is being discussed, people call names; people point or look at individuals. They don’t understand that justice does not look at individuals or names. Justice looks at the crime and the degree of the crime,” he stated.
“Let me say this-people who point at individuals and say, it’s because of these people that we are calling for the establishment of a war crime court-let me be very clear to them that, they are making mistake. It’s possible that those people names you are calling could go to the war crime court and come out freely,” he added.
On support for the court’s establishment, Representative Jones pointed out that he affixed his signature to the resolution calling for the establishment of a war crime court in Liberia based upon a mandate from his constituents.
According to him, the actions of war perpetrators to commit atrocities and other heinous crimes during the warring days have biblical, traditional and political implications, and as such, those who aided and abetted civil conflicts in Liberia should not go unpunished.
“Even the Bible-one of the oldest books in the world, speaks about punishments. Whenever people carried on inhumane acts against others; that seem to be civil disobedience (in not a peaceful manner), but disgruntle manner that violates the constitution, norms or religious principles, I think that in the minds of reasonable and sound, those people should not go free,” he noted.
“Whenever the war crime court is being discussed, people call names; people point or look at individuals. They don’t understand that justice does not look at individuals or names. Justice looks at the crime and the degree of the crime.”Representative Ivar Jones, Margibi County District 2
Plea to colleagues at Senate
Unlike the House of Representatives, majority members of the Liberian Senate are yet to give a definite position on the establishment of the court, since President George Manneh Weah requested members of the 54th National Legislature to advice he on the way forward.
The Margibi County lawmaker wants Senators to act in line with majority members of the House of Representatives on the establishment of the court upon their return to the Capitol Building in January 2020.
The Capitol Building is the official seat of the National Legislature.
“I was one of the first persons that signed the resolution for the establishment of the war crime court. I am asking my colleagues from the Upper House because the number has been guaranteed already from the lower House,” he stated.
“Having 52 persons signing the resolution from the lower House is a clear manifestation that the establishment of the war crime court-as per the view of the lower house is certain. So, we are calling on members of the upper house to act in similar form and manner,” Representative Jones maintained