Rights Icon Got Fond Words for Boakai -Cllr. Verdier Hails WECC Efforts, Calls for Expeditiousness

MONROVIA: One Liberia’s noted human rights advocates, former Truth and Reconciliation Commission Chairman, has extolled President Joseph Nyuma Boakai for torpedoing the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court in keeping with his campaign promise to fight corruption and end impunity.

In a position statement, Cllr Jerome Verdier said Boakai has taken what he called “most singular step necessary to begin the long journey to lasting peace and genuine reconciliation”.

“The issuance of Executive Order 131 was a milestone attained on the backs of years of advocacy by civil society, international development partners, the United States Congress and other distinguished institutions and personalities who variously campaigned and lobbied for justice in Liberia,” he said.

Verdier noted that this singular act came on the heels of the gallantry of the ladies and gentlemen of the 55th Legislature, the presentation of 30,000 signatures of Liberians petitioning the US Congress under the aegis of the organizations of Ysandi and Rogers, the US Congress Resolution.

He recalled that the Resolution called for the full Implementation of the TRC Recommendations, especially the Establishment of the War Crimes Court after the testimonies of over 40,000 victims, survivals, and perpetrators, alike during the TRC Process, including over 500 public and in camera hearings and the innocent blood of over an estimated 250,000 people whose blood are still crying out for justice.

Verdier said while the WECC efforts were long overdue, “our Nation will forever remember the benevolence of the Almighty God to the people of Liberia who remain forever grateful to God for preserving our nationhood”.

He said history would be kind to President Boakai for his leadership and President Pro-Temporare, Senator Nyonblee Karngar-Lawrence and House Speaker J. Fonati Koffa for their stewardship of their respective Chambers of the Legislative Branch of Government.

The IJG and Partners Executive Director urged President Joseph N. Boakai, Sr to move forward with the full implementation of all the Recommendations of the TRC, especially, Establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court (WAECC) without further delays.

Having vowed to establish the WECC and campaigned on that commitment, the Liberian human rights advocate said President Boakai is under obligations – moral, political, justice and rule of law – to move forward and establish the court, being the nation’s eldest statesman and the anti-corruption and rule of law icon he has been regarded for many years.

He said it is 15 years since the TRC presented its final report to the Government of Liberia and two successive prior administrations failed to make conscious efforts to implement these recommendations or make any progress, whatsoever.

The Sirleaf Administration, he said, was complicit in rampant corruption, human rights violations and the commission of extrajudicial killings and crimes against humanity while the George Weah Administration was no different, equally culpable and both institutions saw no incentive in establishing the Special War and Economics Crime Court, for the last 12 years.

Verdier further noted that the Liberian people have suffered for so long being denied justice by their leaders who have, at the same time, committed the very crimes the War and Economic Crimes is poised to address.

“We urge the President to consider the issues of timeliness and factor time frame into Executive Order #131 which was conspicuously in both the Executive Order and all previous pronouncements and public discourse of His Excellency, The President.

In this regard also, IJG urged the Government to factor adherence to the rule of law by yielding to and complying with legal prescriptions already in existence.

IJG has drawn the attention of the Boakai Government to Article X, Section 48 of The TRC Act that is long overdue and seems to be deliberately neglected or ignored in violation of the law.

Verdier said the law obligates The President in Article X Section 48 of the TRC ACT to a number of responsibilities, including that the Head of State shall report to the National Legislature within three months of receipt of the report of the TRC, and on a quarterly basis, thereafter as to the implementation of the Commission’s recommendations.

The International Justice Group also called on International Community to be fully vested in the process, guaranteeing the provision sufficient resources, in human, financial and material terms and partnering and supporting civil society in monitoring the process to ensure its success and delivery for the maximum yields in peacebuilding and reconciliation dividends.

Comments are closed.