The Civil Society Human Rights Advocacy Platform of Liberia and Independent Human Rights Investigators Monday issued a statement on the observance of International Justice Day. According to the groups, they joined the rest of the world, as it is a time to stress the importance of criminalizing and prosecuting grave international crimes domestically.
They noted that by establishing a framework to hold alleged perpetrators accountable for the worst atrocities committed during the civil wars, rape, sexual crimes and many injustices that are experienced on a daily basis will show that justice is served in Liberia.
The statement that was signed by Adama K. Dempster, Secretary General Civil Society Human Rights Advocacy Platform of Liberia and Founding Director Independent Human Rights Investigators noted that the civil wars devastated the country, with economic challenges, and so many people died, facing terrible atrocities. They said since then, there has been no credible accountability at the domestic level in line with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations.
“Actions by Civil society, victims groups, legislators, and citizens who marched in the streets have repeatedly called for perpetrators to be held accountable. Liberia’s international partners have experience and the resources to support the government to establish a war crimes court only if the government will request such assistance”.
According to the groups, the wheels of international criminal justice are moving slowly, and suggest that concerted efforts must be made to ensure that any delays within the system are significantly reduced and that there are sufficient resources brought to bear for successful investigations and prosecutions.
The group added that the human rights community, justice campaigners, and victims groups welcome the international community, and world leaders renewed engagement with civil society, emphasizing the need for greater cooperation in order to further the cause of justice and accountability.
“On this twentieth anniversary, as the world witnessed multiple conflicts and the commission of mass atrocities, the urgency of the task ahead of the international community through International Criminal Court ICC and domestic accountability framework cannot be overstated. The work of justice continues.”
Every year on July 17, World Day for International Justice is observed all around the world. The aim of the day is to promote international criminal justice as a way of supporting the work of the ICC.
ICC stands for the International Criminal Court. It came about when 120 states adopted a statute in Rome. It was known as the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (“the Rome Stature”). All the countries that agreed to adopt the statute were accepting the jurisdiction of the ICC, with regard to the prosecution of very serious crimes. The idea was not for the ICC to replace national courts. It is only able to intervene when a country can’t or won’t carry out investigations and prosecute perpetrators.
The aim of this day is to unite everyone who wants to support justice as well as promote victims’ rights. It is to help prevent serious crimes and those that put the peace, security, and well-being of the world at risk.
The theme for this year is Achieving Social Justice through Formal Employment.