Massacre Victims Want Weah’s Gov’t Implement TRC Recommendations
Monrovia – Since the filing of a lawsuit in the U.S. by four victims of the St. Peter Lutheran massacre, survivors of that carnage continue to raise their voices seeking justice.
Report by Willie N. Tokpah – [email protected]
The survivors have over the time sent out calls for fair justice to be accorded them, but the recent lawsuit has resuscitated their prolong quest.
Most of these war victims are currently faced with physical and psychological disabilities, while some are still carrying scars on their bodies.
There were mass killing at Duport Road, Paynesville, St. Peter Lutheran Church on 14 Street in Monrovia and the Phebe Hospital in Bong County and several other places across the country.
Recently, the Liberia Massacre Survivors Association (LIMASA) called for the full implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations calling for “retributive justice instead of restorative justice”.
LIMASA said the government has been dragging its feet to implement all the recommendations, since it was submitted by the TRC, terming the delays as “disheartening”.
The group believes if President George Weah ensures the full implementation of the TRC recommendations, it will serve as one gain for his administration.
“We, therefore, call on President George Weah to track progress on the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report and ensure full adherence to the recommendation,” a statement signed by LIMASA President Peterson Sonyah said.
In one of its recommendations, TRC Reports recommend that perpetrators of the civil crisis in Liberia meet with victims and regret their participation in the civil crisis.
Another major issues spelt out in the report was the need for medical reparation for survivors, following the 2008 TRC Hearing.
But survivors have complained that the recommendation has been ignored.
According to them, it would be a travesty of justice to see action being taken against perpetrators of war crimes at the international scene, while others are moving freely in Liberia.
“Today in Liberia, people who committed crimes against humanity are rewarded with lucrative jobs in all three branches of government while victims and survivors of the war carry wounds and trauma imposed on them by perpetrators,” LIMASA asserted.
One person specifically linked to the St. Pater Lutheran Church massacre is former House Speaker George Dweh, survivors accuse him of denying his involvement with the crime.
One survivor, Marcus Quoigoah, said Dweh and other alleged perpetrators have taken “deceptive posture” since their appearance at the TRC.
Quoigoah said the act indicates that the former Liberian Speakers and other alleged war criminals show no regrets for their participation in Liberia’s brutal civil unrest.
In the wake of dishonest posture by the accused, LIMASA wants punitive measures taken against perpetrators of war crimes, which would serve as punitive measure and deterrence to others.
The massacre survivors also acknowledged ongoing efforts by the Center for Justice and Accountability (CIA) for filing a lawsuit to a US Court on behalf of victims and survivors of the Liberian Civil War, especially the St. Peter Lutheran Massacre.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of four survivors against Major Moses Thomas, a man believed to be former Commander of the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit for his alleged action and role played in the July 29, 1990 St. Peter Lutheran Massacre.
It was assumed that Major Thomas ordered the killing of over 600 people in the church predominantly of Mano and Gio tribes.
Recently, LIMASA Executive Director, Mr. Sonyah, and a survivor of the Lutheran Church massacre, Marcus Quoigoah said they were contented with the lawsuit.
“I want to be very thankful today that one of the persons who committed heinous crimes today has been indicted in the U.S. for what he did to the Liberian people, most especially the Lutheran Church massacre. I think victims and survivors of the St. Peter Lutheran Church massacre will be at peace this evening. That is the first step,” Sonyah said.
For his part, Quoigoah in recent interviewed said: “Our own stand as survivors of the massacre is to stand with them to know that, though they may be far from us but in ideology and feelings, we are still the same.
“We are joining our colleagues, they are in America and we are in Liberia because we been frustrated and reduce to mere beggars, nobody wants to hear about survivors.”
“I witnessed women and children been asked by soldiers to stand if still alive to be taken to hospital because according to one of the soldiers they were so sorry for what has happened,” Marcus Quoigoah lamented.
One person who still feels frightened about the deadly experienced during the 1990’s is Madam Yei Sennie Suah, another survivor of the St. Peter Lutheran Massacre.
Suah, 55, who is currently residing in Sanniquellie, Nimba County, recalled how the “horrible incident” left her alive by the grace of God and flashbacks of the bloodshed bring her sorrow.
“I was unable to see my aunt who is also a survivor with a bullet wound. Her knee cap got damaged too like mine,” she said, pointing to the scar.
“We were shot by Doe soldiers, but by the grace of God, the gun shot broke our legs, I was not able to recognize any of the soldiers, because we were all running for safety. “
“Four of my family members got killed during the massacre, my elder brother – biological, my uncle and his two children – boys, it was very bad,” Yei told FrontPage Africa.