During the Legislative conference, Professor Olympia Beko, head of the international criminal justice unit of the human rights law centre, University of Nottingham, and David Scheffer, first U.S. Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues (1997-2001), will provide expert advice to members of the Legislature and Liberian stakeholders working on the Draft Act to Establish an Extraordinary Tribunal for War and Economic Crimes for Liberia via video-conference.Op-ed 

Emmanuel Savice: We can not afford to let these murderers go free with impunity!

By Emmanuel Savice

As a kid growing up, I knew nothing about violence. I lived in a peaceful country (Liberia), where our parents had little opportunities to provide for the family. As little the opportunities were, they took advantage of it. They fed us with their sweat. They went fishing, hunting and they were happy to work as cooks, house cleaners and securities for the powers that be.

Out of that peanut income, they managed to provide life basic necessities for their children. It was never the most decent homes, but we were satisfied, growing up. We respected our parents even though they didn’t have the voices to fight for equality in a society where they were being stepped on and marginalized. They just settled peacefully for the little drops in the buckets they were given, and settled for what the power holders were paying. They weren’t happy, they didn’t complain much!

They used that little drops to educate their children locally. There was never going to be an opportunity to send us to the western world. They barely made enough for local lifestyles, we were pushed into exiles because of the war they brought. Our parents taught us how to serve and live humbly in a society where peace reigns, but discrimination and social divide were at its peak. Clearly, we were unimportant and less than humans in the eyes of the oppressors and power holders. They were privileged than we were, and they made sure they rubbed it in our faces.

Then they started another trend. They brought in weapons and asked the oppressed to do the fighting while they did the talking. The oppressors made sure their children were out studying at some of the best universities in the world, while they drugged other people’s children to do the killing and fighting in an effort to reward them with the power they needed to continue stealing and abusing our parents and our entire families and generation. The kids they drugged and gave alcohol fought their wars losing their innocence as they roamed the countrysides spreading mayhem and destruction.

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The kids that fought their wars were denied education and peace in the process. Even those that didn’t participate were affected badly. They lost family members from hunger, tortures, bullets, and sicknesses. It took us 14 years to quiet the guns. In fact, we had to invite outside powers to stop the atrocities in our once peaceful country, which the war mongers and warlords themselves and their supporters could not end.

These people have stolen our generational wealth from under our feet and used the country’s resources and its opportunities to excel, at the expense of us all and the state. Some of them are rich as a result of the lawlessness that engulfed our country. They are still secretly killing their competitors, and looking for reasons for another civil unrest.

The IRONY is that now that the ordinary people have voted a man into powe they thought was one of them, who would heal their wounds and fix the country is now altogether another story—the once prominent slogan: HOPE FOR CHANGE has now turned sour, their so-called “native,” son of the soil, has opted to PROTECT all of warmongers and killers, who brought the war. Those who killed innocent people, destroyed the country and stole Liberia’s generational wealth, are the ones still leading the country and presiding over the people they maimed and still persecute. It is sad that George Weah said we are all related, so nothing will be done, to fight crime, lawlessness, and impunity in Liberia. Today, in our country, corruption and the politics of divide and rule continues unabated. Meanwhile, the Liberia we know now has got to change, we must fight justice for our poor people, we must make sure impunity ends in Liberia, it is not going to be easy, but we the liberian people must insist that justice is served so that lasting peace can come t our countty.

Finally, this is why we are calling on all well-meaning Liberians to join the Liberians United for Justice and Accountability (LUJA) to help keep the conversation for JUSTICE alive. We can not afford to let these murderers go free with impunity! Starting March 3, 2020, we will host a series of peaceful rallies in and out of Liberia. We must never surrender to evil, because to do so is to give them victory.

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