OWCL: In the cause of human right, democracy, and justice …


ICC should implement TRC final report


Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was agreed upon in the August 2003 peace agreement and created by the TRC Act of 2005. It was established to “promote national peace, security, unity and reconciliation,” and at the same time make it possible to hold perpetrators accountable for gross human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law that occurred in Liberia between January 1979 and October 2003.

Operation We Care for Liberia (OWCL) believe that a step toward ensuring Liberia’s upcoming election is credible would be by implementing the TRC final recommendations.  Again as in our previous publication, we call on the International Criminal court (ICC) to take over the implementation of Liberia’s TRC final report due to the fact that there are evidence of international crimes been committed by certain individuals in Liberia, also because President Sirleaf is suspected of committing war crime in Liberia, her administration is unwilling to implement said report. 

A peaceful Liberia demands accountability, justice, and then reconciliation. Those bearing the greatest responsibility for atrocities in Liberia must be held accountable. They must not be allowed to walk freely or hold any positions in the next Liberian government! This is necessary in order to begin genuine reconciliation.
Madam Sirleaf must demonstrate leadership by either complying with the TRC recommendation that she not hold public office for 30 years, or invite the International Criminal Court to Liberia to investigate crimes committed in Liberia during the course of the civil war.  After all, she vigorously supported and promoted the truth telling approach to national healing. Her acceptance of the TRC recommendations or inviting of the ICC to Liberia will compel other former warlords to cooperate. This will also serve as a deterrent to those who believe in the use of arms to obtain state power.

The country’s Rule of Law and the justice system is in shambles. It is commonplace for persons who have committed serious crimes, such as rape, torture, murder and other crimes against humanity, to move about freely in Liberia without fear or concern. The people are powerless. Injustice in Liberia is reported regularly not only in Liberian media but in the international media as well, however, nothing is done. Power, cupidity for personal wealth; lack of accountability; difficulty in bringing perpetrators of violent crimes to justice; impunity; and exemption from penalty and or legal sanction has categorized Liberia as one of the most volatile nations today.  The need for the presence of an international justice system capable enough of bringing perpetrators of war crimes to book until Liberia’s justice system is revamped cannot be over emphasized at this point. And there is no such justice system than the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Things have fallen apart in Liberia to such an extent that the obligation or willingness to accept responsibility, or account for one’s actions in the public sector is nonexistent; thus giving rise to the spread of immense unstoppable embezzlement even in the private sector, and  religious settings across the country. Liberia is about to again be destroyed due to the behavior of a select few who are only bent on driving the country into an abyss of total isolation from the comity of nations. These are the people who either financed the killing of thousands of defenseless men, women and children, including a number of Liberia’s guests, or were themselves directly involved in the taking of human lives. Shamelessly living under the dark cloud of guilt and suspicion, they have vehemently rejected the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) recommendations, even though it is one of the best remedies for sustainable peace.

Liberia’s 2011 election results will not be considered credible …
While allegations of War Crimes remain unaddressed, and those suspected of committing them are the judges in charge of running the affairs of the country, elections in Liberia cannot be considered credible. Liberia’s 2011 election results will not be considered credible because there are major war crime suspects among candidates vying for public offices.  Former warlords and their financiers have rejected the way forward to peace and are doing everything in their power to prevent justice from taking its course!
National Referendum
In one of our past publications we condemned attempts made by the Sirleaf government to influence the outcome of the just ended national referendum. We still believe that President Sirleaf and her group intended to place her on a safe political ride as regards the 10 years residency clause for persons seeking the presidency of Liberia. We publically declared at that time that such manipulation was unacceptable and not in the interest of the country especially during these critical moments when Liberians look forward to lasting solutions and durable peace. Our  first suggestions was either the president does not meet the residency clause requirement as stipulated in the constitution of Liberia or such clause be abolished to accommodate all Presidential aspirants in  the 2011 elections at all. Our reason at that time stem from the fact that we did not see the 2011 elections as being any different from the 2005 elections, giving the situation in Liberia where it is more scaring for Liberians to return home because of the presence of Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Prince Johnson and other warlords who continue to move freely without question.  We said elections that are held under such circumstances are considered special meaning they cannot be considered normal under a full constitutional protection. The Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf government did not give credence to our publication.We suggested that those recommended to be banned by the TRC should not run for public office until they answer questions for alleged crimes committed during the Liberian civil war. We also thought that reducing the residency clause from 10 to 5 years to make President Sirleaf qualify for the 2011 elections was a complete insanity on the part of whoever chose to do so. Such idea would not serve the interest of the Liberian people.

The referendum has ended and according to the Election Commission report, all four proposition including proposition one (52c) which talks about the reduction from 10 to five years in the residency requirement for the presidency or vice presidency did not meet the required number of votes for ratification. All four propositions were not ratified.

Again, we have heard that President Sirleaf and her group are about to manipulate the systems by means of court process. They are about to find a way of avoiding the residency clause restrictions imposed by the constitution without “actually violating it” unbeknown to the citizens contra positively against their interest and will. The very citizens most of whom may not even see a single copy of the constitution in their life time are about to be manipulated. We take such information very seriously and are watching events in Liberia with an eagle-eyed as they unfold. It will be against democracy for the Supreme Court of Liberia to disregard the will of the Liberian people and breach the constitution only to accommodate Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf who is suspected of committing war crime in Liberia in the first place.


Charles Taylor and the TRC
On November 28, 2008, Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) published a list of “Persons of interest” who to date have not appeared at the Commission but are considered persons who have particular knowledge and information about past events deemed expedient to the inquiry process of the commission, given their roles, positions in government or privy to public policy issues over the period 1979 to 2003. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf appeared before Liberia’s TRC … Charles Taylor did not appear. Interestingly, even in the absence of Charles Taylor’s testimony at Liberia’s TRC, after reviewing all the evidence, the Truth Commission felt it necessary to recommend that Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf be banned from public office for no less than 30 years. This is a clear indication of the extent of her involvement in the carnage.

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s incredulity in the face of mounting evidence is incomprehensible. Without legal exoneration from allegation of war crime, the presence of Madam Sirleaf in government at any time makes it impossible for Liberia’s 2011 elections results to be considered credible. And again Madam Sirleaf has presented herself as a presidential aspirant whereas she should be answering questions in a court of law.

Ellen may have contributed more than $10, 00 to NPFL Rebels

We believe besides the $10,000 (ten-thousand United States dollars) financial contribution made by Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to the NPFL rebels as was explained by her at the TRC hearing, Mr. Charles Taylor may have in-depth information on other monies such as the alleged $75, 000 (seventy-five thousand United States dollars) contribution made in France as well as other roles Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf may have played during his NPFL revolution especially so her connection with the former Libyan Leader Col. Gadhafi.

We call upon President Johnson Sirleaf to create a supportive atmosphere that will buttress the TRC efforts already made by opening doors to the ICC.

Put simple, Madam President, do not pay death ears to allegations of war crime that are brought up against you. Do something about it!!! Don’t just sit there!!! YOU ARE A PRESIDENT OF A NATION!! THE LIBERIAN PEOPLE ARE SAYING “YOU GAVE MONEY TO CHARLES TAYLOR’S NPFL REBELS TO KILL OUR PEOPLE!” DON’T TRY TO HIDE UNDER THE PROTECTION OF THE PRESIDENCY! YOU WON’T BE PRESIDENT ALL OF THE TIME OR MAYBE NOT THIS TIME!!Again, because Liberia lacks Rule of Law and the justice system is in shambles we call upon the ICC to take over the implementation of the final reports of the TRC. With the ICC at the zenith of implementing justice in Liberia, such forum would heal the wounds of thousands of Liberia war victim. Also, the ICC taking charge of the TRC final recommendations will permit Charles Taylor to give his side of the story about his role played as former rebel leader, and former President of Liberia. In this way, the Liberian people would get another picture of the actual roles Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Charles Taylor played during the Liberian civil war. Genuine reconciliation in Liberia will require the participation of all Liberians including Charles Taylor. Excluding him from the process without getting his side of the story is an injustice not only to Mr. Taylor but to the Liberian people as well.

Charles Taylor is charged with war crimes in Sierra Leone Not Liberia

Charles Taylor is charged with 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in Sierra Leone from November 30, 1996, to January 18, 2002 not Liberia. The Prosecutor alleges that Mr. Taylor is responsible for crimes which include murdering and mutilating civilians, including cutting off their limbs; using women and girls as sex slaves; and abducting children adults and forcing them to perform forced labor or become fighters during the conflict in Sierra Leone. Mr. Taylor is charged on the basis that he allegedly backed Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels fighting in Sierra Leone; that he had links with senior leaders in the RUF—such as Foday Sankoh, Sam Bockarie (a.k.a. Mosquito), Issa Sesay, and others—in addition to a second warring faction, the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC); and that he was responsible for Liberian forces fighting in support of the Sierra Leonean rebels.

Ellen Johnson-sirleaf admitted at the Liberian TRC of financially supporting Mr. Taylor’s NPFL rebels that also committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law in Liberia. Both Charles Taylor and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf must face the war crime court for crimes committed in Liberia.  President Sirleaf should not be allowed to prevent the ICC from taking over the implementation of the TRC final recommendation. Preventing the ICC’s involvement in Liberia would be considered injustice to the country’s war victims.  Also both Charles Taylor and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in-depth war time activities during the Liberia civil war are of great importance to the history of Liberia. Therefore, a balance account of what actually happened must be heard from these two major actors (Sirleaf and Taylor). President Sirleaf side of the story about her involvement in the death of over 200,000 Liberians only accused Mr. Charles Taylor of duping her.  We believe there is more than enough information in the possession of Mr. Taylor concerning madam Sirleaf’s involvement with the NPFL rebels. Taylor’s untold revelation may be reasons behind the delay in the freezing of his asset by the Ellen Johnson-Sir led government. It is unjust for Madam Sirleaf to say on a Liberian national radio that she was fooled by Mr. Taylor when he Taylor is not given the opportunity to exonerate himself.


In the cause of human right, democracy, and justice, we call upon the International Criminal Court to implement the TRC final recommendations as regards war crimes committed in Liberia during the country’s civil war.


Bernard Gbayee Goah
President,
Operation We Care for Liberia 





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