War Crimes Court Inevitable Embarrassment BFF: Protest May Relapse Liberia into Violence

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The Better Future Foundation (BFF) has said calls for the establishment in Liberia is though a national embarrassment, the group indicated that it is rather inevitable due to succeeding Liberian governments’ actions and inactions to hold all accountable consistent with Liberia’s constitution and the rule of law.

The BFF also expressed fear that amid increasing demands for mass street protests which have effectively generated fear and apprehensions amongst Liberians and the international community, particularly ECOWAS and the United Nations (UN), that Liberia may relapse to another violent crisis.

Better Future Foundation made the observations in a press release issued yesterday which is titled: War crime Court: An Inevitable National Embarrassment, But…

The release quoted BFF Secretariat as saying that Liberia should by all standards demonstrate commitment to upholding its obligations as enshrined in international bodies, protocols and conventions being the first democratic Republic in Africa, founding member of the erstwhile League of Nations, now the United Nations (UN), and a signatory to nearly all international protocols and conventions including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law, International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, African Chapter for Human Rights, among others.

Accordingly, the BFF has called on the Coalition for democratic Change (CDC) led government of Liberia, headed by President George Manneh Weah to treat with urgency the plights of dissolute Liberian war victims; and seize the opportunity to break the culture of impunity in the country.

The Foundation believes that the Liberian nation has, by all accounts, reached its limit to further defer justice and accountability for its excessive societal wrongdoings, including the abuse of state power, particularly economic crime.

In its statement issued in Monrovia over the weekend, BFF however said the use of a war and economic crime court as a medium to accord justice in any country including Liberia is tantamount to a tacit admission and deliberate disregard and neglect by that government to dispense justice and accountability under the rule of law.

BFF added that in a democratic state, when any crime is committed, it is the responsibility of the state to arrest, investigate and punish violator (s) consistent with due process in line with its constitution and other statutory provisions.

Unfortunately however, BFF indicated that more than a decade since the end of the Liberian armed conflict which was characterized by gross violations of human rights as well as international humanitarian law and other brazen abuses, succeeding Liberian governments have failed to demonstrate genuine commitment to initiate the necessary platform that seeks to address the accumulated grievances and violations over the years.

The Foundation added that it is now a national humiliation and disgrace the arrest and subsequent prosecution of some Liberian citizens suspected to be associated with the Liberian civil war including former high-profile Liberian government officials abroad due to the Liberian government’s failure to hold accountable such individuals at home.

In the release, signed by its Founder, Augustine S. Arkoi, BFF expressed regret that the inactions of succeeding Liberian governments particularly, the regime of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf that was protected by the world’s largest peace-keeping troop under the umbrella of the United Nations (UN) and a recipient of the highest development aid in the history of Liberia from the international community to hold accountable perpetrators of war, human rights violations and economic crimes was a miscarriage of justice and lost opportunity for sustainable peace and democracy in the country.

The BFF release added that such a failure by the government had constrained mainly Diaspora Liberians and war victims, with support of the country’s key development partners to mount pressure on the current government in Liberia to fulfill the country’s obligations as a signatory to say international human rights conventions and protocols, the BFF secretariat asserted.

“By addressing past grievances and setting agenda for genuine national reconciliation and healing including meeting the critical needs of thousands of war victims plus reparation will not only go a long way in strengthening and consolidation Liberia’s hard-won peace and democracy but gravitate the country towards a progressive development trajectory.

BFF also expressed fear that the accumulated unaddressed grievances over the years, coupled with the abuse of entrusted state power with no remorse by alleged perpetrators some of whom now find themselves in the corridors of state power constitute a major threat to Liberia’s peace and security.

At the same time, BFF, proponent of Liberia’s Democracy Sustainability Platform (DSP), cautioned the Liberian government to pay particular attention to economic crimes by ensuring that illegal wealth is not acquired by unscrupulous individuals and groups to destabilize the state and undermine democracy through cash violence.

While the CDC-led government may not be held liable for GoL’s actions and excesses of the past, the current Liberian government, headed by President Weah must pay keen attention to crimes or any human rights violation since its inception and to establish a clear track record of justice and accountability for all irrespective of party, socio-economic and fraternal affiliation, the BFF release added.

BFF in conclusion cautions government and protesters to fully respect the rights to education by ensuring that any mass protests in the country do not result to violence and abortion of learning activities in the country.

According to the foundation, government and protesters should be held fully accountable if the right to education as enshrined not only in the Liberian constitution but also Article 86 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international conventions is undermined at the detriment of Liberian youths and students.

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