Home Politics Ex-Warlords Reject Justice … ‘Conspiracy’ In Senate?

Ex-Warlords Reject Justice … ‘Conspiracy’ In Senate?

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By: Frank P. Martin

MONROVIA: Some actors of Liberia’s bloody civil war suspected to be responsible for its prosecution, commission of war crimes, human rights violations, and other egregious crimes have started sending out threats against Liberia’s peace and stability.

Last Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed a Resolution for the establishment of War and Economic Crimes Court in the country.

In response to the House’s action aimed at the establishment of the Court by President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, Nimba County Senator, Prince Yormie Johnson, and Grand Gedeh County Senator, Thomas Yaya Nimely, have expressed vehement opposition to the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia.

For Senator Johnson, he disclosed that some former ‘Generals and Commanders’ have been holding meetings since President Boakai encouraged the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court for Liberia.

Proponents of the court strongly believe that it is aimed at giving justice to thousands of Liberia’s war victims.

The Nimba County Senator and former warlord has been apparently defiance on the court’s establishment.

He said it would disrupt Liberia’s peace that the country enjoyed for 20 years now since the end of the conflict in 2003.
Following the passage of the Resolution by the Lower House, the Senators of erstwhile two rivalry Counties, Nimba and Grand Gedeh, seem to have quickly formed what appears to be an alliance to reject the formation of War and Economic Crimes Court for Liberia as reflected in their comments on the court formation.

Grand Gedeh County Senator, Thomas Yaya Nimely, former leader of the erstwhile rebel faction, the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL), reportedly entered Liberia during the war era from Ivory Coast and allegedly carried out series of human rights violations in the Sinoe, Rivercess, Grand Bassa and Margibi counties.
According to reports, Senator Nimely’s MODEL looted and burnt down the then ‘Oriental Timber Company (OTC) plywood factory’ in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.

As for Senator Johnson of Nimba County, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Final report released in June 2009, accused the ex-warlord for allegedly carried out torture, killings, murders and human rights abuses.

Although, some of the former commanders are yet to either condemn or accept the War Crimes Court but only Senator Johnson and his colleague, Senator Nimely, from Grand Gedeh have been protesting against the war Crimes Tribunal.

Johnson, during the first civil war in the 1990s, led the defunct Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL), then, a breakaway faction of Charles Taylor’s disbanded National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), while Thomas Yaya Nimely headed the 2000s era, then, the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL). MODEL reportedly launched its war against Charles Taylor’s erstwhile NPFL which was accused of committing acts of mayhem.
The Grand Gedeh County Lawmaker argues that President Boakai must “Rescue the 4.5 million people who are younger than 40 years old. We know that you want justice, but that’s not how you will want to see justice in your first three months in government when the resumes of your ministers, deputy and assistant ministers are piling up in my office and we have not confirmed them yet.
“ Look at your policy, you have to rescue this country and transfer and tell the young people on the radio stations to stop talking about war crimes court so that you can’t deviate from this government’s policy,” Senator Nimely told a news conference at his Capitol Hill Office recently in Monrovia.

Senator Nimely’s comments were in reaction to President Boakai’s decision to establish the War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia.

Senator PYJ: “My people in Nimba County were killed in cold blood, and we fought in defense. We gave you votes, and you want to go after us? We are not going to accept that. My people in Nimba are listening to you, and you think they are going to sit here and turn me over to you to give me false charges on things that I never did before?”

Senator Prince Johnson told Freedom FM, Tuesday, March 5, 2024.

The two ex-warlords, now Senators have argued that Liberians should pray for continued peace over the court establishment because the country has enjoyed unprecedented peace for 20 plus years due to the “amnesty law that was passed and printed into handbill.”

Senator Johnson maintains that the Accra Peace Accord on Liberia was guaranteed by the “amnesty law.”

Other reports suggest that there is no documentary evidence from the Comprehensive Peace Accord to provided blanket amnesty to individuals who were allegedly involved in gross human rights violations and abuse of international humanitarian laws during the war.
But, these early signs and threats by Senator Johnson and persons who are alleged to be perpetrators of war crimes and other crimes committed against humanity during the nation’s dark days, according to Bomi County Senator, Edwin Melvin Snowe, are warning to the Executive Branch of government that individuals in the Senate would conspire against the Court’s establishment.

Senator Snowe signaled that President Joseph Nyuma Boakai should invoke his Executive Power, prevailing on the Legislature for a Speedy Passage of the Resolution on the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court.

He said, doing so, would make the Court establishment easier.

Senator Snowe maintains that forwarding the Resolution to the Senate by the House of Representatives for concurrence would entail prolongation.
He believes that the President’s Executive Order would have several components, trussing to time limit for the senate Plenary’s Deliberation on the Resolution.

The Bomi County Senator cautioned that “without a strong political will,” from the Executive Branch of Government, individuals in the Senate who are opposed to the Court’s establishment would play delay tactics to stall the process of establishing the war and economic crimes court in Liberia.
Senator Snowe: “I think the best solution to this War Crimes Court establishment which should be the President’s concern is to institute measures that would prevent us carrying this whole thing for another six years.

“The President should issue Executive Order so that the Legislature can work in time. If not so, I see this thing going for more years,” Senator Snowe asserted on Wednesday, March 6, 2024.
Many commentators believe that the formation of the court would help end the culture of impunity and bring much-needed justice and relief to thousands of Liberia’s war victims.

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