UN Human Rights Commission Hints at Support For War, Economic Crimes Court in Liberia


Monrovia – The Country Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights says the UN agency will give its position on the issue of accountability in Liberia after holding consultations with stakeholders and the Liberian government.

Report by Edwin G. Genoway, Jr. [email protected]

Uchenna Emelonye said the Commission will work with all stakeholders in the country to ensure that violators of human rights face the law.

Addressing a team of journalists in Monrovia Tuesday June 26, Mr. Emelonye emphasized that it is up to the Liberian people to say what they want and not the responsibility of the UN.

“We do not come with the knowledge of dissolution, we work with national partners and institutions to identify the solutions that work better for them,” he said.

“We are not going to rewrite the history of the TRC recommendations but we will encourage the government and the citizens of Liberia to determine what they will do in terms of accountability.”

The UN agency official comment comes following a petition to the Legislature on May 8 this year, reemphasizing calls for the establishment of war and economic crimes court.

The petitioners argued that until the instigators of the war and perpetrators of atrocities face justice, the country would not be truly reconciled.

They added: “In this light, we will like for the Honorable House of Representatives to act on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Report, submitted to the Government and people of Liberia on June 30, 2009, currently before the House but has suffered set-back due to reasons we don’t know.”

According to the petitioners, full implementation of the TRC recommendations would reconcile thousands of Liberians who still feel aggrieved by the manner in which they were victimized during the war.

But the Liberian government has insists that implementing the TRC recommendation was not a top priority for the administration.

Deputy Information Minister for Public Affairs, Eugene L. Fahngon, told reporters at a regular press briefing recently that the administration of President George Weah was not considering the implementation of the TRC recommendations as a key objective.

“We are not ignoring the calls for a war crimes court; it’s just that we want to focus on the things that matter most to the Liberian people right now and one of the things is the TRC except that it is not at the top of the list right now,” said Fahngon.

But the UN Human Rights commission representative, who said the agency theory is for peace to be sustainable and violators of human rights held accountable, has hinted at the possibility of the UN backing the establishment of a war or economic crimes court in the country.

“If accountability is not upheld, peace is not quiet sustainable,” said Emelonye, adding that peace will happen in the interim but in the long run that peace will collapse.

“There is a theory that if the victim of today does not forgive, he becomes the violator of tomorrow, so we might be witnessing the situation where the victim of today is buying time to violate tomorrow, we do not mean to see that happen.”

“We are meeting with government partners for the couple of weeks or days from now, and after that we will be giving the UN position on the issue of accountability in Liberia.”

He assured that the UN agency will promote accountability as a mechanism for lasting peace, not only in Liberia but anywhere in the world.