The Liberia Law Society declares as unwarranted, wrong, unacceptable and unnecessary the use of force against peaceful protesters on January 6, 2020 and declares that this signals a reversal in the minimum gains made in consolidating our democratic culture and peace.
According to the group, no government must believe that economic progress and infrastructural development are substitutes for the full enjoyment and happiness of its citizens’ desire to live in dignity, respect for human rights, respect for the rule of law, equality before the law and full adherence to the dictates of the constitution. History has shown that mere economic development without a human face is temporary and bound to implode. The tragic lessons of history are unequivocal in this regard.
The LLS notes the tragic accounts of alleged human rights violations that have not been investigated since Weah came to power: The countless abuse of women and girls (Rape, sexually deviant behavior, sexual assault, violent abuse of our youths). Young girls have become sexual pawns in an abyss of impunity, wealth and power;
Electoral -related violence: District 13 & 15 have not been investigated or at least no one has been held responsible;
Violence and threats against individuals: The case of Hon. Yekeh Kolubah (his home shot into and various attacks reported on he and his family have not been investigated and no one held responsible), the denial of free movement of his family when they were prevented from traveling, many others including members of the Council of Patriots and other political parties; The forced exile of Jestina Taylor are all cases in point;
Executive Tyranny & Judicial subordination: Impeachment of Associate Kabineh Ja’neh and the replacement of Judge Ernest Bana (Magistrate Bana was replaced after presiding and announcing his ruling in the case involving Roots FM);
Use of Force against students of the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS) on October 15, 2019 protesting the denial of education
The Question of the War Crimes Court: This neglect has engendered an attitude of complete disregard for the respect of the rule of law
The lack of action on the 25 million mop-up scandal
The 16 billion Liberian Dollars Scam
The Kingsville Killing of peaceful and unarmed protesters by the Liberian National Police;
Freedom of the Press and Expression: The violent attack on Henry Costa of the Council of Patriots as well as the violent break in of Roots FM and other radio stations; The Henry Costa’s Laissez Passez saga provides ample evidence of why political exiles might be on the increase signaling the rise of totalitarianism in Liberia.
The Liberia Law Society hails the position of the Government and People of Sierra Leone, Sierra Leone Civil Society Organizations, Liberian Civil Society Organizations and all who worked to ensure that the rights of Henry Costa were protected and international human rights laws upheld. We hope that similar advocacy and collaboration will become the hallmark that prevents dictators from prevailing. The LLS proposes a Mano River Union Civil Society Meeting to further consolidate and re-enforce the great lessons associated with this experience.
The group has recommended the Government of Liberia to do the following: A full audit of all sectors of the Liberian Government (Legislature, judiciary & Executive): The integrity of the Government of Liberia is in question since a full audit of its various sectors has not been conducted in the face of raging suspicion by the public. The completion of these audits during the period of this administration and the necessary action will go a long way in promoting transparency and accountability;
A national conversation and/or dialogue that promote national reconciliation and justice: The Government continues to exhibit its unwillingness to dialogue and promote national reconciliation. All and any attempts are being viewed as hungry people in search of jobs rather than a genuine process to reconcile the country. We are attempting to roll back the wheels of reconciliation and return Liberia to it s ugly past of division, extra-judicial killings, nepotism, rampant corruption, divisive politics, state criminalization, etc.
A full investigation on the role of former ex-generals and combatants: there’s open admission and display of the brazen remobilization of former combatants allegedly associated with our security forces. This is a violation of our peace agreement and a deadly reminder of the Liberian Civil War. Their reemergence as paramilitary units represents a chilling reminder of the human rights abuses and reign of terror their actions imposed on the Liberian People and Nation. This action by the Liberian Government is also forcing victims to relive the trauma of their horrific experiences during the war.