Africa

US Rep Daniel M. Donovan Jr. Introduces Bill To Call For War Crimes Court in Liberia

It now appears that United States Congressional pressure is being brought to bear on the George M. Weah Administration Liberia over the establishment of a war crimes tribunal in the West African nation.

Liberian President George M. Weah

An estimated 250,000 people were killed and another 1 million others were dislocated internally and externally due to one of Africa’s most brutal civil conflagration led by now jailed former rebel leader and President of Liberia Charles G. Taylor.

According to House Resolution 1055 introduced on Friday, September 7. 2018 by Representative Daniel M. Donovan Jr., a Republican from New York, the intent of the resolution is, “…To affirm strong United States-Liberia ties and support for democratic principles, and call for full implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations, including the establishment of an Extraordinary Criminal Tribunal for Liberia.”

The move by a member of the US Congress is the first tangible indication that the US and the international community are prepared to decisively deal with the unserious attitude of the Weah Administration in addressing impunity in Liberia.

Liberia TRC Logo

Despite calls from the UN, through its Deputy Secretary General Madam Amina Mohamed in March of this year in Monrovia, private representations to the Weah Government by the US and some of its allies, calls by the International Justice Group (IJG), the UN Human Rights Committee and over 75 international human rights groups and non-governmental organizations, and Liberians in and out of the country who all support the establishment of the war crimes court and recommendations of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), the government has signaled it’s unwillingness to prioritize the matter.

Representative Donovan’s bill has been agreed to in the U. S. House of Representatives and it has been forwarded to the House’s Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Congressman Donovan has a background as a former prosecutor and attorney.

He represents the 11th congressional district which covers parts of Kings County and Richmond County southeastern in New York.

He was elected in 2015.

According to procedures in the U. S. House of Representatives, bill are generally sent to the Library of Congress from, the Government Publishing Office a day or two after there introduced. But delay in passage of bills are possible when there is a large bill to print.

United Nations Headquarters New York

President Weah is expected to travel to NY later this month to address the UN General Assembly. Some Liberians are planning to peacefully protest and call for the establishment of war crimes court.

The U.S. may impose restrictive measures against the Weah Administration in a bid to facilitate implementation of recommendations of the TRC.

No one in Liberia has been held to account for alleged human rights violations and atrocities committed during the civil war.

By Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal