Students in Monrovia Proffer Suggestions for Ending Impunity in Liberia


Monrovia – The Voices of the Youth conference, hosted by Civitas Maxima, the Global Justice and Research Project, and the Liberian Visual Arts Academy held at iCampus on November 7th, saw nearly 25 students participate in discussions and debates on justice for Liberia. Counselor Tiawan Gongloe attended the event to give a special lecture to the students, who had many questions on the challenges of implementing the war-crimes court. 

“We have to deal with the situation of impunity for war crimes Liberia, while the victims and perpetrators are still alive,” said the Counselor. 

Civitas Maxima and the Global Justice and Research Project have been engaging in outreach projects that engage the youth in the ongoing conversations centered on accountability for the heinous crimes and human rights violations committed during the back-to-back civil wars in Liberia (1989-2003). 

“The youth is incredibly insightful in recognizing the challenges for accountability for war crimes in Liberia today. The students highlighted the importance understanding and respecting cultural traditions while undertaking the pursuit for war crimes prosecution,” said Nathaly Leduc from Civitas Maxima.

In August, Civitas Maxima, the Global Justice and Research Project, and Liberian Visual Arts Academy jointly supported a Cartooning for Justice Workshop, where youth learned cartooning and storytelling techniques while partaking in group discussions on broader theories of punishment. These discussions were then contextualized for Liberia. 

As a follow-up event to Cartooning for Justice, young artists were invited back to further discuss the complexities of the initiation, sustenance, and end of the Liberian civil wars. At this Voices of the Youth Conference, the participants were also informed about Civitas Maxima’s public cases as well as encouraged to critically analyze the transitional justice mechanisms that took place in countries with similar pasts of conflict. 

“Programs like this should be happening all over the country, because without justice we will never have a fully developed state,” said one student who attended both Cartooning for Justice and Voices of the Youth in the Quest for Justice. 

The students also mentioned that they feel that Liberia has a “hidden-truth”, that what happened in the past is not fully told, and that many stories of the war especially of those who are most to be held accountable, are still hidden.