The Wish Center: The Liberian Government Must Implement TRC Report


The Wish Center

Source: The Liberian Journal

The Wish Center

Socrates (469-399 BC) is an enigma who is largely credited for the founding of Western philosophy (Kofman, 1998). Classical Greek mythology also credited him for the development of ethics. If one takes a closer look at what is obtaining in Liberia today, it has some semblance to the Socratic era. Instead of holding the status quo and accepting the immorality and corruption of his time, Socrates posited himself as the gadfly of the political establishment. This is a sort a sting fly, if you will. Justice for him was more important than serving in cabinet or ministerial position in the government of his time. He was wealthy in ideas, yet financially poor. But this man never crawled or sought after political power from the corrupt government of his time.

Unlike him, Liberians who favor the current political establishment led by Madam Sirleaf are somewhat angry with those pushing for the implementation of the TRC Recommendations. Like the epoch of Socrates, partial justice, is injustice. A just Liberia is one where laws are respected over names or people. On May 19, 2010, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, two parent human rights organizations added their voices to the many, calling on Madam Sirleaf to demonstrate leadership, and facilitate the speedy implementation of the TRC Recommendations (Story Link). For us, this key provision is far too important, than even the holding of a 2011 General and Presidential Elections. Furthermore, we are of the opinion that any success void of bringing to justice, those who in the pursuit of their own ambitions, nurtured death and destruction in Liberia, is a crooked victory.

Like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, the Wish Center (Watch International for the Security of Humanity), wishes to add its voice, in calling on President Sirleaf, Prince Johnson, and those responsible for the implementation of the TRC Recommendations, to look beyond their personal ambitions, and put Liberia first. The triumph of Samuel Doe, who could not put his country first, by stepping down, is the closest reference to cite? Where is he? The fight of giving up one’s ambitions for the good of the public is an old but durable struggle.

Socrates, for instance, could have contested or simply avoided his execution. However, he did not. As an architect of the Athenian justice system, he had to comply with the decision of the legal body, which handed him his death sentence. Needless I mention the historical demystification that surrounded his conspiracy. The question is why should a society which was enjoying enormous freedom and democracy than any the world had ever seen; would a seventy-year-old philosopher be put to death for what he was teaching? Indeed, what could he have said or done that prompted a jury of 500 of his countrymen and women to send him to his early death a few years before his natural death?

Growing up in this bastion of liberalism and democracy, Socrates had somehow developed a set of values that put him at odds with most of his fellow kinsmen and women. A number of us fit in this historical context of Socrates. Because at a time when many of our own are belly crawling behind the establishment of the day, with the hope of getting jobs, we are preaching the sermon of justice for one’s country. For us, being rewarded with silver, gold, or power is not only meaningless in a country fraught with impunity, but a blatant disservice to justice everywhere. The ploy to keep rewarding those who have hurled death and destruction against the very justice system, they continue to perpetuate, is a rubberstamp legacy that advocates further impunity. Justice was not only meant to protect the few; but all, including the destitute, in an equitable just fashion.

Those who favor the Ellen-status quo, for whatever reasons, believe that the implementation of the TRC recommendations is not only unimportant, but doing so is contrary to those commissioners or parties of the Liberian conflict, who have not endorsed all, or some portion of the recommendations. Rubbish. Firstly, one common practice with august bodies is the use of simple majority. This ancient democratic practice is used in the Supreme Court, Houses of Senate and Reps, even in the Knesset and the chaotic British House of Commons.

In politics, there are unintended consequences. One Liberian soccer icon used to compare the unintended results in football matches to the breaking of crackers. It breaks off where one does not intend it to break. Let us imagine for a minute, a Liberia under a President Prince Johnson, or a Benjamin Yatem. But is a President Prince Johnson not as good, as a President Johnson Sirleaf? One paid for the destruction that the other carried out. Is this not a good reason why they all should be punished for their roles in the Liberian Civil War?

In order to discern some of the uninformed excuses that sympathizers alike have been lollygagging about, subsequent publication by the Wish Center, will look at the terms of reference of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. To debate is synonymous with Liberians. Everyone thinks he/she has something to debate about; even the hood-winkled thinks he/she too has a point. Below is the basis of our future debate.

In addition to truth-telling processes, it will be essential to consider appropriate justice mechanisms to ensure that perpetrators of serious human rights violations be held accountable and to dissuade would-be violators from committing future abuses.”

UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Kyung-wha Kang,

concluding a visit to Liberia, 9 May 2008147

It was mandated that government should provide the TRC with necessary funding and logistics needed to carry out its work adequately and fully; government should establish the independent national human rights commission as a matter of priority; facilitate a transparent national consultation to develop a long term comprehensive action plan to address past human rights violations and guarantee that victims fully enjoy their rights to truth, justice and reparations. The action plan should include a persecution policy and a reparation policy. In close cooperation with the international community, the Liberian government should adopt effective steps to ensure that all alleged perpetrators of crimes under international law are investigated, and if enough admissible evidence is gathered, prosecuted in accordance with international law and standards, and others.

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Author’s Note: This publication was sanctioned by the Wish Center, a human rights organization that defends the rights of Africans everywhere. On the web, it can be reached at: http://www.wish-center.org. On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thewishcenter , on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/thewishcenter. If you have further questions and concerns, please forward same to info@wish-center.org. We are a donor driven initiative. ®

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