Those responsible for robbing our children of their youthfulness must be brought to justice - Say Liberians in the UK

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

July 31, 2003

The current fighting that commenced in the Liberian capital, Monrovia on July 18th, 2003 having claimed over 700 lives is condemned in the strongest possible terms by all peace loving Liberians. This brings to three the number of onslaughts on the over populated city of Monrovia between the rebels of the Liberian United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and the Taylor government forces within the past two months.

It is inconceivable and unjustifiable that the rebels and government forces would choose to use the overpopulated city of Monrovia as a battleground where almost all aid workers have been evacuated and over-crowded hospitals in dire need of supplies, thus disrupting the delivery of vital relief services.

Once again, there are accusations and counter accusations, claims and counter claims being made by the belligerent forces as to who started the current hostilities. The truth may never be known, but the people of Liberia are united with one voice in condemning the violence.

The present generation is plagued with an unprecedented stigma. The children born since 1980 in Liberia have known nothing but violence. Many have been abused and drugged to form part of various warring factions. They haven’t been able to have any kind of formal education. Their major preoccupation remains wars, drugs, looting and killing. It is our fear that if nothing is done to address these situations, then in the next five to ten years time, another group might start the same circle of violence because it is the only means they know to obtain their livelihood.

While we applaud the efforts of the international community and ECOWAS at the current peace talks in Ghana, we want to make it emphatically clear that those responsible for the death, destruction and massive displacement of our people should not be awarded state power for their crimes against humanity. We cannot continue to reward murderers for the sake of peace. History has shown that since the onset of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) rebellion to remove Samuel Doe in 1989, all the various rebels groupings that were created only sought state power to enrich themselves by plundering the resources of the country while the vast majority of the people live in abject poverty.

We are soliciting the support of the International Community, the United Nations, International Human Rights Organisations, Economic Community of West African States, African Union, and interested organisations to help us set up a War Crimes Tribunal to be convened in Liberia to bring to justice all the people responsible for the destruction of Liberia commencing from the period 1989 – present. Those to be indicted include the leadership of the following armed group and their foot soldiers that bear the greatest responsibilities for the raping, maiming, murdering of innocent Liberians and also the looting, pillaging and destruction of billions of dollars worth of properties in Liberia:

National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL)
Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL)
Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) and its various special units
United Liberation Movement – Kromah (ULIMO-K)
United Liberation Movement – Johnson (ULIMO-J)
Liberia Peace Council (LPC)
National Patriotic Front of Liberia Central Revolutionary Council (NPFL-CRC)
Lofa Defence Force (LDF)
Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD)
Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL)

This situation cannot be permitted to continue unabated. Those responsible for robbing our children of their youthfulness must be brought to justice. We have to set an example with the perpetrators of crimes against our people so that future generations will know that violence is the wrong and worst way of resolving any form of differences as a nation and people. The manner in which we deal with conflicts in Liberia today will send a clear signal to would be trouble makers that Liberia is a country of laws and order.

It is about time that we set up the right precedent for the future of Liberia, the West African sub region and the generations unborn. These people should be brought before a court of competent jurisdiction to answer the families, love ones of those that perished, the people of Liberia and Humanity for their sordid crimes. They are no better than the over 200,000 people they sent to their early graves. May the souls of all the faithful departed rest in perfect peace.

God bless Liberia.

Respectfully submitted:

John Nimly Brownell
Chairman, LIBERIAN Association, UK

Liberians In Britain Encouraging Reconciliation Internationally and Nationally
(L I B E R I A N)
169 Greatmeadow, Northampton, NN3 8DJ, UK
Phone: +44 (0)1604-761386 +44 (0)7793884509 +44 (0)77914346691