Editorial: The End Of Impunity For The Likes Of Prince Y. Johnson
𝐒𝐈𝐍𝐂𝐄 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐄𝐍𝐃 of the Liberian civil conflict in 2003 and the forceful uprooting of ex-President Charles G. Taylor in 2006, Liberia’s human rights community and their international partners have got Senator Johnson on their radar but he has thinly held on, surviving the 12-year reign of ex-President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and the six-year term of President George Manneh Weah. But political commentators and human rights defenders believe that the final bait for the final end of the Senator comes in the supposed advent of a Joseph Boakai win and the resurgence of former ruling Unity Party, which key advisors are known human rights advocates.
𝐀𝐂𝐂𝐎𝐑𝐃𝐈𝐍𝐆 𝐓𝐎 𝐀𝐍𝐀𝐋𝐘𝐒𝐓𝐒 closely following human rights events, Senator Johnson survived the dragnet of the international community during the terms of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf because the Sirleaf administration did not want to incur blame for surrendering two Liberians—Charles Taylor and then Johnson—to The Hague. They say the Weah government had to withstand external pressure to turn him over because of national security concerns and the President’s thick skin against external pressure.
𝐓𝐇𝐈𝐒 𝐓𝐈𝐌𝐄 𝐀𝐑𝐎𝐔𝐍𝐃, the analysts believe, Senator Johnson has already bought his own woe by flirting with the Boakai team, which comprises of human rights actors who have long advocated for the end of impunity for the likes of Prince Y. Johnson.
𝐀𝐂𝐂𝐎𝐑𝐃𝐈𝐍𝐆 𝐓𝐎 𝐋𝐄𝐀𝐊𝐄𝐃 conversations between the Boakai advisors and some international partners, all is set to end Prince Johnson and others’ impunity, at least in the first four months—a campaign message they have overly told the international community. The international community says one reason they are slightly hopeful on the Boakai side is because President Weah consistently refused for years to hand over Prince Johnson during his administration and was non-cooperative with the international community on the establishment of a war crimes court, and that the President appears disinclined to cooperate in turning him over in his second term.
𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐅𝐎𝐑𝐄𝐈𝐆𝐍 𝐏𝐀𝐑𝐓𝐍𝐄𝐑𝐒, according to the leaked conversation, say they have now seen a glim of light with Boakai since some of his key advisors, who are renowned human rights advocates, have given them assurance for Johnson’s turnover to the ICC if Boakai wins the election. One of the foreign partners was heard saying, “We are confident about the assurance from our Liberian friends because we have worked together for years on this matter, which has dragged because two successive presidents did not cooperate with us. Now that Johnson himself is on the front page to see a Boakai administration, the easier it would be to get him.”