Liberians Crave for War Crimes Court after Jungle Jabbah’s Sentencing


Monrovia – After news of Mohammed Jabbateh, alias ‘Jungle Jabbah’ 30 years sentencing spread across Monrovia, Liberian weigh in with their calls fro the establishment of a war crimes court in the country.

Report by J. H. Webster Clayeh, [email protected]

Liberians from all walks of life expressed gratitude for getting justice for victims during the civil war and also called on the government to establish similar court in Liberia to trail people who committed atrocity during the 14 years civil war.

Our Reporter has been out and about in the streets of Monrovia speaking to Liberians.

Delux Fahbulleh:  “Being a Liberian from the Western part of Liberia, I think it has brought relief to me, I am happy  because justice has taken effect. No matter how long a crime has been committed, I think people should be held responsible for what they did in the past. It is not only me but I think other people from the Western part of Liberia are in similar joyous mode.

It will be good to have other people who did wrong to be trialed here in Liberia. We saw the case of former  Charles Taylor and other world leaders who committed crimes against humanity and they were brought to booked.

I think the issue of justice should not be a selective process. Justice should be the answer of the day. So, that those who are victims of those crimes can be happy. The issue of war crimes should be something that every Liberia should see as a way of getting back justice.

I just want to call on this government to look into that direction, so that the war crimes court can be established in Liberia. Those guys who committed crimes against humanity should be prosecuted. We are seeing them, some are past government officials. They move on the principal streets of Monrovia, they live freely and those who were victims of those crimes have not gotten the require justice.”        

Siaffa Kanneh, student activist: “Well, I followed the news as it relates to the sentencing of the former UNIMO-K general Mohamed Jabbateh. I saw it as a boost to our advocacies for the quest of justice in this country and it is a test to see whether our government will see it necessary to implement the Truth and Reconciliation report in order to strengthen the diplomatic relationship with America.

I see it as a good bye to impunity in this country wherein people who carried on mass murdering of citizens, gang raping and other economic crimes are not allow them to go free.

I support the sentencing of Jungle Jabbah and want to call on Liberians to support this endeavor of bringing similar court here in Liberia. People who carried on mass execution of our citizens, those that are responsible for the massive poverty in this country are going around with impunity. So, I think it will serves as a deterrent for future state problems.

So, if we cannot take a bold step to implement the TRC report, to have a day of justice in this country; 30 years from now we may have a reoccurrence of the war.

Liberia is prepared and Liberians are calling for justice. It will not open old wound, it will serve as a deterrent. Let me say this, our country’s stability still remains fragile once justice cannot take effect.”

Tomorrow, another group of Liberians will wake up and think that the jungle is the way to solve their problems. So, once we cannot establish a court where people can go and find their time to go through the process of justice we will not have a holistic reconciliation.”

Winifred D. Smith, resident of Lakpazee community: “I feel that the war crime court is not necessary for us in Liberia because other countries where crimes were committed those people are not calling their past officials who were involved in those crimes but rather only African leaders.

Taking people to court I think it will not serve as a deterrent, people will still get involve in committing crimes. So taking people to court will not be necessary.  We all have to come together to find solution so that we can step forward instead of pulling or opening old wound every time.

I believed that if those people who committed crimes during the civil war were not forgiven by Liberians they were not going to be put to state power. People who killed people in Liberia are now in state power in this country. So, I believed that we should just leave it instead of taking people to war crimes court.

War is not about peace, it always bring death. People will die and lose their properties. So, I believed we should just leave it to have a better Liberia. To have peace in Liberia, I am saying that let us forgive and move on to have better Liberia instead of opening old wound.”

Jacob A.D. Kollie, civil society activist: “I heard the news that Jungle Jabbah was sentenced to 30 years. Those who committed crimes against humanity should face full weight of the law. We are trying to solicit signatures to see how best we can petition our lawmakers so that economic and war crimes court can be established in our country to prosecute people who have committed atrocity and they are going free.

If we say we do not want something of such then what will we be telling the next generation. We are trying to get rid of the culture of impunity. We are trying to have a deterrent factor so that people can be discouraged from going on such path.

It is wrong for us to sit here and see people who have depleted state covers or committed atrocity against our people to go free. We say no to that, we need a war crime court in Liberia so that we can see people be punished.”

Marcus M. Goodridge, UL student: “For Jungle Jabbah, he was punished for what he did. So, I think the same situation can happen in Liberia because people who have committed crimes should be brought to justice like the same way they did to him in the US.

In the absence of justice our peace is fragile. You cannot have the same people who committed crimes against our people going around in this country then you say we should have reconciliation. No, we should have justice before reconciliation in this country.

Those people who committed crimes should be brought to justice and then after justice we can have reconciliation. It is not about opening old wounds but rather it will serve as deterrent for young people like us; that tomorrow we will not do those things.

President George Weah is not a warmonger. I understand that TRC made a recommendation to former president Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf by then but because she was indicted so she could not act upon it. And, that petition was given to the Legislature and the Legislature did not act upon it.  So, I believed that our President does not have corruption scandal on his head since he became senator. So, I think now is the rightful time to establish the war crimes court.”