from MULBAH WESSEH in Monrovia, Liberia
MONROVIA, (CAJ News) – LIBERIAN President, George Weah, has been urged to probe the violations committed against civilians during the country’s civil wars.
The call by human rights groups comes as the president, a former footballer, addresses the United Nations General Assembly this week.
“He (Weah) should send a clear message that he stands with victims and that the brutal crimes committed during Liberia’s civil wars will no longer go unpunished,” said Elise Keppler, Human Rights Watch (HRW) Associate Director, International Justice Programme.
Last year, Weah gave hope to victims of brutal crimes committed when he spoke at the UN General Assembly about pursuing a war crimes court for Liberia.
He said consultations with the national legislature were already in motion, and engagement with the judicial system and international partners on the court’s creation was on the way.
“But since then, there has been little progress,” Keppler said.
The activist noted Liberians suffered tremendously during the wars, which spanned more than 14 years starting in 1989, and left tens of thousands dead.
Warring parties gunned down civilians in their homes, marketplaces, and places of worship.
Women and girls were subjected to sexual violence including gang rape, sexual slavery, and torture. Villages were destroyed.
Children were abducted and forced into armed service.
The UN Human Rights Committee in 2018 concluded that Liberia should establish a process of accountability for past gross human rights violations and war crimes that conform to international standards and report back by July this year.
A report has yet to be submitted.
– CAJ News