Liberia War Crimes Advocate Loses Congress Seat

U.S. Congress man, Don Donovan

Monrovia – U.S. Congress man, Dan Donovan, a major advocate for war crimes court in Liberia has been defeated in the November 6 mid-term elections. He lost to Democratic Party challenger Max Rose.

Outgoing Representative Donovan, in August, introduced a congressional resolution to support the establishment of war crimes tribunal in Liberia. He has been hailed by some Liberians for taking the initiative to support implementation of the Final Report of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

Last week, he slammed as vague, a recent statement from Foreign Minister Milton Gbezohnga Findley on the push for the establishment of a war crimes court in Liberia.

The US lawmaker, in a letter to the Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, also sent to FrontPageAfrica, said Mr. Findley’s recent comments falls short of genuine and robust commitment to establishing a war crimes tribunal. “To that end, what more can the Department of Defense and Department of State do to encourage Monrovia to establish a war crimes tribunal? And how else can myself and my colleagues in Congress assist in this effort? I look forward to your expeditious responses.”

The George Weah-led government has until July 2020 to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommendations, according to the United Nations. Ahead of that, Liberians – home and aboard – along with over 80 local and international groups, continue to push for the establishment of a criminal tribunal to prosecute perpetrators of war crimes.

Foreign Minister Findley, told the OK FM morning Show recently that a referendum is the most likely option to decide the establishment of any war crimes tribunal in the country.

Said Findley: “I understand that there are Liberians who want the war crimes court but also what are the results from the majority of the people of the country? Do we go to a referendum for this? Let’s go to a referendum. If people are not happy then let’s advocate for a referendum for the Liberian people to decide the way forward on this matter.”

The former Senator has been the legitimate face of Liberia within the international community. He would have to put up with pressure from his international counterparts about the government’s stance on the implementation of the TRC recommendations, which have been kept under the carpet since it was released in 2010.

The newly elected congressman Mr. Rose, who will represent New York which includes Staten Island, home to a large Liberian population, is a US army veteran.