Liberia is apearing before the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva today where it is facing tough questions on the fact that the country has yet to prosecute a single atrocity committed during its civil wars though the conflicts were characterized by widespread human rights abuses.
In the lead up to this meeting, Human Rights Watch joined 75 Liberian, African and other international organizations in calling for prosecutions of past international crimes.
A Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Liberia in 2009 recommended the creation of a war crimes court but no action has been taken. The new administration of President George Weah has an opportunity to change history by finally addressing accountability for the crimes.
The human rights groups implored the Liberian government to undertake fair and credible prosecutions of international crimes committed during its two civil wars
76 Liberian, African, and international nongovernmental organizations said in a submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee released in July.
The submission was made ahead of Liberia’s appearance before the committee, which monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by its states parties, scheduled for July 9-10, 2018 in Geneva.
“Since the war ended in 2003, the Liberian government has skirted the issue of criminal accountability for war crimes,” said Hassan Bility, executive director of the Monrovia-based Global Justice and Research Project. “Not one person has been prosecuted for past violations.”
Liberians suffered tremendously over the course of Liberia’s two armed conflicts spanning more than 14 years. Abuses included summary executions, large-scale massacres, rape and other forms of sexual violence, mutilation and torture, and widespread forced conscription and use of child combatants.