Justice in Action - Theater

Justice in Action is a program in partnership with Flomo Theater that uses theater as a tool to engage difficult-to-reach communities in light of the many legal cases outside of Liberia that our work has led to.

Trials can be cathartic, and hold social importance to societies that witnessed wartime atrocities. Liberia has to date not seen war crime accountability in the country. In the past years, Civitas Maxima's work has led to several arrests and two guilty verdicts of alleged Liberian war criminals outside of Liberia. More trials are expected within the upcoming year.

Our outreach seeks to ensure local populations and direct victims of international crimes have access to unbiased and reliable information about these extraterritorial trials. We use creative tools do to so such as cartoons, independent reporting, and theater. Through our partnership with the theater group, we designed a roadshow, held public readings, and staged mock trials thus, enabling access to information about trials for hard-to-reach communities.

Flomo Theater

Flomo Theater is an independent theatre group that has been active in Liberia since 1980. The group resisted during the war, and some of its members were executed and tortured during that period. They have a deep understanding of Liberia's diverse cultures, profound knowledge of its population, and what it means to be a victim craving justice.

Civitas Maxima has been fostering this partnership with Flomo Theater since 2017, and now are working closely together to design and develop programs that encourage all voices to join the quest for justice. These programs have, to date, resulted in greater participation from high school and university students - who have, in turn, started their own justice initiatives. 

Mock Trials

A group dynamics exercise where students are confronted with the complexities of a war crimes trial through simulation. Firstly, the actors explore the role-play where an individual is accused of human rights violations. Arguments are presented to the judge and jury, witnesses take the stand, and jurors are expected to vote. Once the verdict is revealed, the group engages in a discussion of whether or not this model of justice is satisfactory, and whose voices it includes.

The project seeks to show the intricacies of a fair trial, as well as show the value of considering all stories. Such a practice reduces the polarized and sometimes violent debates about war-time accountability that are commonplace in Liberia, while also showing that for justice to be done, all voices need to be heard and a fair mechanism needs to be guaranteed.

Musu's Diary Roadshow

Musu's Diary is a cartoon that tells the story of a young Monrovian girl who seeks to reunite her family torn apart by the war. The story chronicles her journey and the quest for justice during trials of alleged war criminals happening outside of Liberia. Musu is confronted by the varied conceptions of justice and prevalence of impunity in her country.

Flomo Theater translated the script of Musu's Diary cartoons into a participatory theater format, popularly known as forum theater. Catering to the individual communities, the roadshow will travel across five counties and make 20 stops to perform Musu in the local dialect, but also with storylines that are of concern and interest to each community.