Home Politics Carry PYJ To War Crimes Court…Weah Tells JNB

Carry PYJ To War Crimes Court…Weah Tells JNB

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Varney Dukuly

BONG COUNTY: President George Manneh Weah has called on the former ruling Unity Party (UP), to muster the courage for the prosecution of Prince Y. Johnson, alias “PYJ,” former leader of the erstwhile armed rebel group, Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL), now Senator of Nimba County, on war and economic crimes charges.

Mr. Weah wants the Nimba County controversial Senator, who is now supporting the presidential candidacy of Unity Party (UP) political leader, Ambassador Joseph Nyuma Boakai, in the October 10, 2023 crucial elections to face the War and Economic Crimes Court for Liberia.

The incumbent Liberian President told the people of Bong County in Central Liberia on Monday, Sept. 11, 2023, that Prince Yormie Johnson, an erstwhile dreaded and former rebel commander, now Evangelist, should be made to face War and Economic Crimes prosecution for the atrocities that he and his former rebel group, INPFL, allegedly committed against the Liberian people.

During the country’s armed conflict which began in December 1989 and ended in August 2003, an estimated 250,000 persons, predominately women, children and the elderly were killed, and more than a million others internally and externally displaced, while Liberia’s economy which crumbled during the back-to-back civil war is yet to recover to its pre-war state.

“Boakai and his Unity Party (UP) had said Prince Johnson was being protected by George Weah so that he (Prince Johnson) will not go to War Crimes Court,” President Weah narrated to surging crowds of his supporters in Bong County on Monday.

Weah: “The same people who said I was protecting Prince Johnson are the ones that Prince is with now; Why they can’t carry him to the War Crimes Court?”

The War and Economic Crimes Court debate seems to be a botched (failed) situation in Liberia, especially since the erstwhile Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), that investigated the causes, factors, antecedents (backgrounds), among others of the country’s civil war submitted its Final Report to the then Government of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The TRC Report contains multiple recommendations such as War and Economic Crimes Prosecution, Debarment (banning) from public offices of about 30 individuals, who were said to be primarily responsible for the country’s bloody civil war which prosecution by various former warring factions, state and non-state actors, among others was characterized by massacres, murders, rape, gangrape, exploitation of natural resources, use of child soldiers, violations of International Human Rights Laws, as well as International Humanitarian laws, and other egregious rights violations.

Interestingly, however, many presidential candidates are now tightlipped on the matter while others including past and present state officials have downplayed the issue of war crimes prosecution despite the widespread clamor for justice and the rule of law by thousands of the country’s civil war victims.

Such calls are being supported by a chain of local and global human rights activists and groups such as Amnesty International, United States government among others.

Nevertheless, as Liberia celebrates two decades of uninterrupted peace, the memories of the country’s civil war remain fresh in the minds of many citizens and groups at home and in the Diasporas.

President Weah is, however, challenging the Unity Party (UP) of former Vice President Joseph Boakai to stay true to his reported previous criticisms against him (Weah) relative to the need to ensure that Prince Yormie Johnson appears before a war and economic crimes court for Liberia.

Inside Bong County, the Liberian leader publicly categorically refuted widespread accusations that the CDC led administration is responsible for the mysterious deaths of ordinary people, disappearances of others.

CDC Political Leader: “What is the motive to say man like George Weah will kill someone?”

“The path to Liberia’s progress and prosperity is peace”, said Weah as he apparently mocked the opposition community for hypocrisy relative to their previous calls for war crimes prosecution.

Touching on why Liberians should give him another six years for the Nation’s Presidency, Mr. Weah told the crowds that as President, he has more for the country in the areas of economic improvement, infrastructure development and education.

Weah, a former global soccer legend, and United Nations (UN’s) ex-Goodwill Ambassador turned- politician stressed that there is nothing new that Ambassador Boakai and other opposition politicians will do if they are given state power in the October polls.

President Weah pleaded with the citizens of Bong County where his Vice President, Jewel Howard Taylor, who doubled as the governing CDC’s Vice Standard-bearer, hails from to give him another six- year presidential mandate.
George Weah: “I was born to succeed. I am a blessing to this nation. Don’t mind them (opposition politicians), they got nothing to rescue in this country.”

Months ago, Nimba County Senator, Prince Y. Johnson said publicly that he was not afraid to face any war crimes court for Liberia.

The former warlord, at the time, indicated that the role he played during the country’s civil war was to liberate his people who were being unduly targeted for elimination, among others by the then ruling establishment.

PYJ stressed, then, that such war crimes prosecution should not be selectively carried out but all accused must be afforded the opportunity to account for the alleged deeds before the court, if it is established.

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