War Crimes Court Campaign Intensifies
-INCHR To Declare Position
Liberia’s Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) has broken silence on latest campaign for the establishment of war and economic crimes court.
A commissioner of the INCHR, Wilfred Gray-Johnson, told local journalists in Monrovia recently that it is just a matter of weeks; the Commission will declare its position on the establishment of a war and economic crimes court.
The statement comes amid unending crusade by most ordinary Liberians to prosecute those who shouldered greatest responsibilities during Liberia’s 14-year civil unrest which accounts for the death of over 250,000 people and the displacement of thousands of people.“Absolutely, we are not silent on the call for the establishment of a war crimes court in Liberia. We are holding discussions with relevant stakeholders and institutions responsible. We will in the next few weeks after meeting with all our partners and stakeholders, come up with our position on the establishment of war crimes court,” Johnson said.
Johnson made the disclosure to local reporters shortly after a two-day workshop on strengthening Institutional Capacity of the INCHR to Ensure the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.
The workshop brought together transitional justice working groups for training and revitalization at a local hotel in Sinkor.
According to Johnson, he acknowledged with respect calls by Liberians for the setting up of war and economics crimes court in the country.
“The calls coming from some of our brothers calling for prosecution are welcoming; we need the discussions to be held. We should also look at whatever the ramifications that will be associated with whatever form of justice that we would take moving forward,” the INCHR Commissioner noted.
Campaign for the establishment of war and economic crimes court in Liberia have dominated nearly very discussion across the country; media is of no exception in the debate.
Liberians from all walks of life and advocacy institutions have all provided
Various groups have joined the crusade, including “Citizens of the Republic of Liberia,” that recently petitioned the Legislature to make it possible for the establishment of the court.
The petitioners believe that until the foremost instigators of the war and perpetrators of atrocities face justice, the country would not be truly reconciled.
The group has written several human rights groups and institutions, including the Office of the United States President, the United Nations Human Rights Office in Liberia and the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR), among others.
The head of one of the groups calling for war crimes court, FubbiHenries, expressed disappointment in the INCHR for not coming up with a clear position on the establishment of the court in Liberia.
“Our disappointment is about the Independent National Commission on Human Rights that we believe is supposed to be championing the cause for the establishment of this court, but they are silent. They are responsible to implement the TRC recommendations, but they are refusing to talk anything even though we have written them,” Fubbi explained
Fubbi’s claim was confirmed by Commissioner Johnson admitting that the INCHR was written to declare its position on the establishment of war crime court by the group’s head, Henries.
“I am of the opinion, the Commission has responded to him formally; the letter went to the Vice Chair who is the Acting Chair of the Commission, he receives all letters and acts on them,” he said.
It is not clear whether the current political regime is willing to support such initiative amid mounting pressure.