Opposition Political Parties Want Stringent Measures Against Rebel Supporters

By: Moses M. Zangar, Jr.
Accra, Ghana

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

August 1, 2003


Representatives of 17 Liberian opposition political parties attending ongoing peace talks in Ghana have unanimously deprecated the continuous military arrogance leading to an acute humanitarian crisis in Liberia. Consequently, they are calling for the expulsion of all elements of the political and military leaderships of the rebels, LURD and MODEL, from all ECOWAS countries, mainly Guinea and Ivory Coast.

The 17 Liberian political parties in a statement Wednesday want the leaderships of the two rebel groups that are residing in what they called the comfort, luxury and security of Guinea and Ivory Coast expelled and send back to Liberia so that they can experience, first hand, the massive suffering they are imposing on the Liberian people by their actions.

Similarly, the group also wants the United States and the European Union to place a travel restriction on the two leaderships and at the same time, freeze the assets of those residing in Western countries and supporting onslaught on innocent civilians.

Furthermore, the 17 opposition political parties also want the international community, especially ECOWAS, the United States, Britain and France to bring pressure to bear on Guinea and Ivory Coast to halt their alleged diplomatic, political and military support to the rebel movements in Liberia.

They noted with profound indignation, the pattern of "intrigue, deception and double-standards" that has been employed by the belligerents, particularly LURD and MODEL since the signing of the fragile truce on 17 June this year. "As a demonstration of their insensitivity to the plights of the war-weary people of Liberia, they have repeatedly violated the June 17th cease-fire agreement, causing the death of hundreds of women, children and other innocent civilians," the statement intimated.

Accordingly, the statement reminded the rebels that territorial cnquest at this time is an effort in futility, as no amount of intimidation or blackmailing through the acquisition of territories will serve as a basis for the determination of the future political leadership of Liberia. They said their stance was intended to give meaning and support to the peace process instead of continuing business as usual with those whose apparent objective is to wreck the peace talks, exhaust the patience of the international community and take power by force of arms and subsequently install a military junta over the corpses of the Liberian people.

The Liberian political parties have threatened to discontinue all negotiations with the belligerents should they not allow the ECOWAS force free passage to conduct their peacekeeping mission in Liberia.

Additionally, they said the callous action of the belligerents to indiscriminately rain missiles on densely populated refuge centers, residential areas, churches and displaced centers is "barbaric and totally unacceptable," and as such, questions their motivation for the war they are prosecuting as well as their capacity to meaningfully contribute to national healing and governance.

"Their actions make them suitable candidates for accountability before a war crimes tribunal."
The statement also called on ECOWAS, the African Union, the EU, International Contact Group on Liberia and the UN Security Council to begin to develop and put into place the mechanism for a war crimes tribunal for Liberia to try those responsible for crimes committed against humanity. This, the parties said will put in check the culture of impunity that has arisen in the country.

It can be recalled that the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan reminded those who may be responsible for gross human rights violations and violations of international law that they will be held, individually and collectively, accountable for their actions.

Conversely, the parties noted with disappointment the level of "undue delay" in sending peacekeeping troops to Liberia, intimating that such an undue delay in the deployment of troops represents a "lack of political will" on the part of the international community, mainly the United States to do what is necessary to resolve the Liberian crises.
Recounting America's deep historical roots with Liberia, the 17 opposition political parties said Liberia was a strong ally to the US during the Cold War during which time it allowed its territory to serve as host to significant American security assets. " Liberia has been a faithful friend. That friendship is now crying out for reciprocity," they stressed.

The All Liberian Coalition Party(ALCOP), Free Democratic Party of Liberia(FDPL), Labor Party of Liberia, the Liberia Action Party(LAP), Liberia Equal Rights Party, Liberia National Union(LINU), the Liberia People's Party(LPP), Liberia Unification Party(LUP), National Democratic Party of Liberia(NDPL), National Reformation Party, the New DEAL Movement, People's Democratic Party of Liberia(PDPL), the Progressive People's Party(PPP), Reformation Alliance Party(RAP), True Whig Party(TWP), the United People's Party(UPP) and the Unity Party(UP) were among 17 registered opposition political parties issuing the statement Wednesday.