Amnesty Wants Perpetrators in Liberia Brought to Book

By: Martin C. Benson

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted January 19, 2004

Amnesty International is calling on the International Community including the UN Security Council to explicitly state to the National Transitional Government of Liberia that there can be no impunity for crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international humanitarian law.

Amnesty International says those responsible for crimes under national law must be brought to justice and has since welcomed statements by the UN Secretary General, the Security Council, the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Liberia and the Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights that those responsible for such crimes will be held individually accountable.

In a 10-page document issued by the International Secretariat on Liberia under the title: "The Goal is Peace, To Sleep Without Hearing Gunshots, To Send Our Children To School; that is what we want", said there should, as soon as possible, be an international independent investigation to establish accountability for such crimes and to recommend an appropriate measures to try those alleged to be responsible.

Amnesty International in the report said there is still alarming level of human rights abuses against civilians and that the security council must give attention and take measures to ensure that every possible efforts is made to protect them.

The International Human Right Organization said from 5 to 19 November during its delegation visit to Liberia it found that men, women and children in arrears where UN peacekeeping troops have got to deploy continues to be killed, raped, beaten, used as forest labour and driven from their homes and their possessions looted by one group of fighters after another.

The reporter said these responsible are from all the three parties are the three parties to the conflict which signed the peace agreement including the former Government of Liberia, the Liberia United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) which are now represented by senior ministers in the NTGL.

Amnesty is therefore recommending that those now in the NTGL should strongly condemn continuing attacks against civilians by combatants of the armed groups which they represent and the international community must insist that signatories to the peace agreement fulfill obligations under international human rights law.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International is calling for additional peacekeeping troops, with adequate logistical support to be provided urgently to the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) so that it can deploy swiftly throughout the country and effectively implement the mandate to protect civilians.

© 2003: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.