• Op-Ed

Time Out Madam Sirleaf, The United States May No Longer Shield You

Circle Pines, Minnesota—Reports reaching our desk indicate that one of Madam Sirleaf’s key lobbying interests in the United States for the last decade or so is against the implementation of key provisions of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations, such as the establishment of a war crimes court on Liberia, during the erstwhile Liberian Civil War.

Lobbying the U.S. Congress and other top officials of the United States’ government is a very costly venture. From every indication, time seems to be running out on Madam Sirleaf in sweeping this idea of a war crimes court under the rug.

Recently, Riva Levinson, Sirleaf’s Chief Washington, D.C. lobbyist was in Liberia to confer with her client on the status of things, with regards to the new Trump administration’s policy on Liberia.

It should be noted that although Dr. Peter J. Pham takes over the running of Africa at the State Department as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, however, prior to her departure from the State Department, Linda Thomas Greenfield did establish the stage for the creation of a war crimes court on Liberia. For instance, quite recently, this network published a-State Department’s position to a letter from the Coalition for Justice in Liberia (CJL) that was initially written Mrs. Lovetta Tugbeh in October of 2016.

Among others, CJL expressed concerns over the level of impunity in Liberia. In return, Secretary Thomas Greenfield affirmed her country’s commitment to “helping Liberia recover from the relics of war.”

Secretary Greenfield further assured CJL that, as long as there is no formal legislation or law in the Liberia that provides immunity from war crimes, the establishment of a war crimes court on Liberia remains a key foreign policy priority among U.S. foreign policy makers.

On the contrary, some have dismissed the statements of Secretary Thomas Greenfield as mere diplomatic posture. During her tenure as U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Linda Thomas Greenfield was credited for her closeness to President Sirleaf.

Moreover, the new Trump administration has promised to radically shift from the diplomatic footsteps of its predecessor. Liberia and this idea of a war crimes court could remain on the back burner for years to come.

Back home in Liberia, and to others, Madam Sirleaf’s covert support for a rival Liberty Party, as sheer resentment over Vice President Joseph Boakai’s openness for the establishment of a war crimes court.

It should be noted that only Vice President Boakai and Ben Urey have expressed interest in the creation of a war crimes court Liberia, if elected president. It can be said, that Ben Urey was among many Liberian politicians recommended by the TRC from holding elected office for up to thirty-years.

A third candidate in the upcoming October presidential election, Alexander Cummings though he promised to end impunity in Liberia, expressed a bygone be bygone policy on the Liberian Civil War.

Consequently, even though he too was recommended by the TRC from holding public office, Senator Prince Y. Johnson of Nimba County has openly declared support for Counselor Brumskine of the Liberty Party in the upcoming presidential election. The latter has demonstrated indifference in the shielding of war time criminals.

Consistent with a number of testimonies at the TRC, President Sirleaf is said to be one of the key architects and masterminds behind the establishment of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia headed by the now jailed former president of Liberia, Charles Taylor.

In her own testimony to the TRC, Madam Sirleaf admitted making financial contribution to the NPFL

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