Home Politics PYJ Not Target …Senator Dillon Throws Weight Behind War Crimes Court

PYJ Not Target …Senator Dillon Throws Weight Behind War Crimes Court

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BY: Frank P. Martin

MONROVIA: Montserrado County Senator, Abraham Darius Dillon, has expressed firm support for the establishment of War and Economic Crimes Court for Liberia.

Senator Dillon also indicated that the essence of establishing the Court is to provide the rare opportunity for both alleged perpetrators of war and economic crimes to establish either their innocence or guilt, and for individuals and groups claiming to have been victimized from the country’s armed conflict to narrate their ordeals.

According to Senator Dillon, the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court is not intended to target any former warlord for prosecution or to deny any accused persons justice.

The Montserrado County Lawmaker maintains that, when alleged perpetrators of the War and Economic Crimes Court are prosecuted through the court, it would serve as a caveat to any would-be perpetrators of violence and war as well as looters of state resources for their personal aggrandizement and against national interest.

“We have to take some strong measures if we are serious to govern the state for all Liberians void of personal or political interest against the ordinary Liberian people who are the custodians of power,” Senate Dillon said on Monday in Monrovia.

He categorically dismissed Senators Prince Yormie Johnson and Thomas Yaya Nimely’s separate assertions that they, and other alleged former warlords are being targeted for the court establishment.

Both Johnson and Nimely expressed vehement objection to the Court establishment.

The tough-talking Senator dismissed separate assertions by Nimba County Senator, Prince Yormie Johnson, alias (“PYJ”) a former warlord; and Grand Gedeh County Senator, Thomas Yaya Nimely, also a former warlord, that they are targets for the War Crimes Court establishment in the country.

To avoid reoccurrence of the nation’s dark days, and set forth precedence that ignites justice for victims especially of war crimes, Senator Dillon believes that it is about time Liberians get justice through said court, when established.

He recalled that President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, while in opposition championed the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court, to offer justice to war victims and prosecute alleged perpetrators of war and Economic Crimes in the country.

The Senator asserted that the establishment of the court should not be seen by any Liberian as a target for certain people. It is intended to provide justice to all Liberians including those listed in the Report of the erstwhile Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC).

“My own senior brother and colleague in the Senate, Senator Prince Y. Johnson of Nimba County should not think someone is targeting him or Senator Thomas Yaya Nimely. Sen. Johnson’s name is not War Crimes Court! They only know him by his name, Prince Y. Johnson. So, I don’t think he is being targeted. What we all want is justice for the all Liberians through the court processes. Those accused will have to go face the court. Going to the court doesn’t necessarily mean you are guilty,” Senator Dillon emphasized.

Recently, members of the House of Representatives passed a Resolution that called for the establishment of War and Economic Crimes Court for Liberia.

The Resolution has already been forwarded to the Senate, the Upper House of Liberia’s bicameral Legislature for concurrence.

Over 40 members of the House of Representatives attested to, and endorsed the Resolution for the Court establishment following a meeting with Dr. Beth Van Schaack’s, United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice, who recently visited Liberia and held wide-range of discussions with several key Liberian officials for the possibility of establishing the War and Economic Crimes Court.

Liberia’s armed conflict which began in December 1989 and ended in August 2003 led to the death of an estimated 250,000 persons, predominately women, children and the elderly.

More than a million others were internally and externally displaced while the Nation’s economy which was abysmally destroyed during the back-to-back civil war is yet to recover to its pre-war status, according to Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh, a world-class Liberian economist, who once served as Chairman of the African Governors of the World Bank and former Head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Dr. Tipoteh, through his civil society group, SUSUKU, played pivotal role in the disarmament and rehabilitation of thousands of Liberia’s former warring factions and other ex-belligerence forces.

During the armed conflict, thousands of people endured mutilation and rape—often at the hands of drugged child soldiers led by ruthless warlords.

The uprising initiated by Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) against President Samuel Doe’s then dictatorial regime, set the stage for said protracted conflict.

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