Home Featured Mixed Reactions …As Ordinary Citizens Speak on War Crimes Court; Some Fear America’s Wrath If…

Mixed Reactions …As Ordinary Citizens Speak on War Crimes Court; Some Fear America’s Wrath If…

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By: Linda Gbartie

MONROVIA: In recent times, there have been arguments and counter-arguments concerning the decision by President Joseph Nyuma Boakai to set up war and economic crimes court in Liberia so that people who are thought to be mainly responsible for the country’s civil war can be given the chance to explain their roles in the civil war while other citizens are saying establishing the court at this time in Liberia is not timely. Our correspondent, Linda Gbartie, has been gathering the views of some Liberians on the matter. Below are excerpts of their individual positions on the war crime court issue.

Rev. Jerry S. Lloyd
“The war and economic crimes court is necessary for perpetrators of the civil crisis in Liberia. Before the war in 1990, Liberians were living in peace with love and care for each other. But, when the armed conflict occurred in 1990, thousands of Liberians died throughout the land, there has been fear, and apprehension, coupled with bitter experiences nationwide. Liberians who could do everything for themselves, are today reduced to beggars due to hardship and power poverty. The war caused massive killings of innocent people, women and girls were raped, and sexual abuses in the 1980s and 1990s. The execution of persons, combined with torture made many people to leave the country and children were used as child soldiers and sex slaves under various former warring factions. Many of the fighters in the civil war that caused mayhem were later awarded certificates with lucrative positions, and are enjoying the best of life while the innocent victims, to date, are faced with trauma and are in tears.
Many of the former rebel commanders and leaders who were linked to commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other egregious rights violations now see themselves as being above the law and are resisting war crimes prosecution.

Liberia deserves justice as it is often said: ‘Justice for one, justice for all.’ So, with the coming of the War and Economic Crimes Court, injustice and impunity will come to a halt as the rule of law is the best way for peace and to curtail the growing culture of impunity in the country. It will also serve as a warning to others who may want to follow such ugly footpaths to have a second thought. According to biblical principles, David resigned over all Israel and executed judgment and justice among all his people (I Chronicles 18:14). It will take away from leaders rebellion activity against God’s people and Provide the bond of harmony, reconciliation and end the war of bitterness among Liberians and we will once more live-in total peace,” said Rev. Jerry S. Lloyd.

James C. Quenah

” I support the coming of the War and Economic Crimes Court. I heard some people saying the coming of the court is not necessary; you see this is the reason why our economy is not growing because it has been cut down by so many bad habits. If the court comes, it will help us because there are many bad habits now and we will no more experience anything like corruption, war. People will be afraid to eat or take what is not theirs,” said James C. Quenah, meat seller.
“If you play with our state resources, you know what will happen to you, but before, it was not happening in our country. People commit heinous crimes and walk away with impunity. If the court is established here, before you steal five dollars or commit evil acts, you will definitely know what will happen to you as called for by Liberian law. So, it will be hard for people, especially government officials, to steal and the Nation’s economy will grow with development. There will be lot of opportunities for Liberians to get jobs, and there will be free movement of goods and services.
We should not worry that something will happen or take us back to war because of this war crimes court. If you have sickness and you look for a particular medicine to treat the sickness, it will go away from you, or you will surely be healed. You can live in a country without justice and the rule of law. Justice and the rule of law strengthen peace and enhance national stability.
I believe in the goodness of this court so much. I’m happy and support this government and the lawmakers that signed the resolution,” James C. Quenah, meat seller added.

Dyeah Eli
Dyeah Eli, resident of Brewerville also said “I’m not in support of this War Crimes Court. This is because the war finished long time ago and the International Community (UN) Peacekeepers were here in full. That time, I believe, was the right time to establish the war and economic crimes court and prosecute anyone who was linked to committing war crimes of crimes against humanity.

But now, the country is seriously challenged as it relates to the economy and the living standard of the citizens. So, any leader who wants to do good for us, that is what they should focus on now instead of brining war crimes court.”
“The court is not necessary now; it is just for white people to make money for themselves because they will bring their international judges here; they will make money and give us peanuts and finally leave our country divided. When things go wrong, they will get in plane and leave Liberia for their own safety. They will leave us vulnerable and go, UN Peacekeepers were here and they left, if we, as Liberians, were not smart to take the path of peace, this country would have still been at war with itself by now. I don’t deem the court necessary for now, the only thing right now is for President Joseph Nyuma Boakai to improve the economy but if the International Community wants to help us let them bring companies for us to work. If even the court comes here, the people who are bringing it will head it and not the ordinary Liberian citizens. For example, they killed my brother during the war and I go to testify and they give me money, that means they have bought my brother’s life, and it will not benefit me,” Dyeah Eli said.

Alex Robert
Alex Robert, Tricycle driver: “As for me, I want to say that Liberians must learn to forgive one another. We all lost important people during the war, some are our parents, brothers, sisters and friends. Now, the war is over. We are living in peace. The coming of this court will bring about hatred and destruction among ourselves because the guys who they are planning to take to the War Crimes Court for prosecution have children and this will be everlasting resentment”.

Ossarus Stone, resident of Johnsonville (photo Withheld)
“I support the court because it will serve as a deterrence for other people who will want to cause trouble in our country and think they can go with impunity. People that will perpetrate crimes will bear the full weight of the law,” Ossarus Stone, resident of Johnsonville.

Everlyn Menwon
Everlyn Menwon, Marketer and resident of Clara Town said “the coming of this court will reflect their minds on the past war. We have already forgotten about war and the things that happened during the war. If the court comes, other people will feel hurt most especially the ones who perpetrated these acts will start gathering and putting heads together to disturb our peace. We are eating our dry rice in peace and we are satisfied with it; bringing war crimes court will not solve anything because almost everybody in Liberia, one way or the other, contributed to the war by supporting child soldiers and other things. So, right now, President Boakai and our lawmakers should forget about this court and focus on developing this country. I’m a victim of the war, my father was killed during the 1990 war because of former president Samuel K. Doe. So, you see, we are all victims. So, let forget the past and live peacefully.”

Justina Johnson
Justina Johnson, resident of Monrovia lamented that “Me, I’m not satisfied with the coming of this war crime court because we are about to be running around here again. At least, the way we are living our peaceful life it is okay. I am not in support of this court; people who are targets will start plotting and putting heads together to cause problem in this country again. Some of us experienced the war and we know how things can be. We are tired of running here and there most especially some of us who have children now. We don’t want them to suffer like the way we did. Nobody holding anybody in heart, let forget about those things and live together happily.”

Yieyie Brooks (Photo Withheld)
“Since this war crime court is the issue for the growth of Liberia, I support that it should come. We want to see our country like other developed countries. For me, I support it 100% so our country can be sweet and fine as it was before the civil war. War Crimes Court, I want it here, I Yieyie Brooks say so!”

Robert Appleton
“I welcome the coming of the war crime court; it will serve as a deterrence for those that want to do things and think they can go with impunity. If the court comes, people will be served justice. I want the court to come and if we make a mistake by not establishing this court, we will lose our international trust especially with the Great United States of America that is willing to help us with the establishment of this court. America will not want to help us again and they will see us as failure and unserious country.” Robert Appleton, resident of Monrovia said.

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