Liberia: Hold People Accountable for Mayhem of Liberia’s Civil War
Thoughts on the War Crimes Debate.
I have always held that we lost an important opportunity to hold accountable those responsible for the mayhem of the Liberian civil war. The Sirleaf Administration was perfectly positioned. It had all the goodwill and the largest UN Peacekeeping operations in the world stationed to safeguard the process of a war crimes tribunal.
Unfortunately, the Sirleaf Administration took a hostile position towards the findings and implementation of the TRC recommendations.
But what is even more disturbing is the hypocrisy of our politicians on national issues.
Those who supported the Sirleaf Administration even when it outrightly rejected the push for a war crimes tribunal, are now advocating for a war crimes tribunal. As with most issues, the politics of convenience and deception is once again at play.
But the Weah’s Administration must cautiously deal with this issue. I personally think we have lost time and there is no need to reverse course. We’ve managed to sustain the peace since the departure of UNMIL and there are more pressing issues to tackle. What our nation needs today is a robust human development push. President Weah is well on track admidst the economic difficulties.
Unless there is a referendum with a national will towards retributive Justice and significant international support, the case for a war crimes court must give way to a concerted effort aimed at rebuilding a broken nation.
Liberians need food sufficiency, roads, stronger health and education systems, more than they need an ad hoc legal process frankly to hold dying old men and women accountable for wrongs of the past.
Make no mistake, I grew during the civil war and like most Liberians kids felt the worst of the conflict. But 31 years later, i am convinced that Liberia is far better served by an ambiguous agenda for human development than a revisit of the past. We can better ensure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated by strengthening our governance institutions and investing heavily in human capital.
Let’s march forward by reforming our judicial system to ensure justice without fear or favor. Let’s make government responsive to it’s citizens. But more importantly, let’s empower individual citizens to challenge misrule and abuse through an independent Judiciary.
The root causes of the civil war are public knowledge. The solutions to prevent a reoccurrence are within reach. Lets together pursue a national agenda for good governance, an independent judiciary, respect for civil rights, and economic empowerment for all.
We’ve come too far now to look back!!!!
Atty. Garmondeh Clinton, J.D.