Hold accountable those bearing the greatest responsibility for atrocities

By Bernard Gbayee Goah
President, Operation We Care for Liberia

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.
There are major war crime suspects among candidates vying for public offices in Liberia. Living under dark cloud of guilt and suspicion, former warlords and their financiers have rejected the way forward to peace. They have refused to accept the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) recommendations, even though it is one of the best available remedies for sustainable peace.

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. The presence of Madam Sirleaf and other warlords in government makes it impossible for Liberia’s justice system to function properly. And again, Madam Sirleaf and her accomplices have presented themselves as presidential aspirants whereas they should be answering questions in a Liberian War Crime court.A step toward ensuring elections in Liberia are credible would be by firstly implementing the TRC final recommendations as it relates to war crimes. We call for an establishment of a Liberian war crime court capable of investigating crimes committed in Liberia from 1979 to present.  We are very concern that prior to the establishment of the ICC, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and her accomplices may have committed crimes against humanity. The ICC has jurisdiction only from July 2002, the date of the ratification of the Rome Statute.  Therefore, we do not see the establishment of a war crime court in Liberia possible under the Rome Statute which only investigate crimes committed after its ratification. “Rome Statute” is the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC) that prosecutes individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.  We at this point recommend a special Statute other than the Rome Statute that will enhance the establishment of a Liberian war crime court. The fact is, there are evidence of international crimes been committed by certain individuals in Liberia pre the establishment of the ICC.

A peaceful Liberia demands accountability, justice, and reconciliation. Those bearing the greatest responsibility for atrocities in Liberia must be held accountable. They must not be allowed to walk freely! This is necessary in order to begin genuine reconciliation.

The Liberian government must demonstrate rule of law by establishing a Liberian war crime court to investigate crimes committed in Liberia during the course of its civil war. This will serve as a deterrent to those who believe in the use of arms to obtain state power.

Lastly, in the interest of human right and justice, we also recommend that the Liberian government freeze all assets of former President Charles Taylor and his associates as demanded by the UN Security Council.

May God save Liberia!

Contact Bernard Goah at:  (503) 297-5974 Email: goahbg@gmail.com 


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