Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Human Rights Watch Backs Liberia’s TRC Call For Extraordinary Criminal Court For Liberia

Source: FrontPageAfrica

07/19/2010 - Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch is calling upon the government of Liberia and the International Community to take prompt steps to ensure that prosecution for serious past crimes committed in Liberia are conducted pursuant to the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommendation for the establishment of an Extraordinary Criminal Court for Liberia (ECCL).

In a recent Memorandum of Analysis on the TRC Report specifically on the Commission’s recommendation for prosecution, Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch says the violence blighted the lives of tens of thousands of civilians, displaced almost half of the population, and virtually destroyed the country’s infrastructure.

says it fully supports the TRC recommendation for a hybrid international – national accountability mechanism to hold perpetrators of past crimes in Liberia to account and that such proceedings are carried out in accordance with international standards. “Prosecutions for serious crimes in violation of international law-including war crimes and crimes against humanity- are crucial to ensuring redress for the countless victims of Liberia’s brutal armed conflicts” the human rights watch dog said.

The Organization in its analysis also reminded of how Liberian citizens were subjected to horrific abuses, including summary execution and numerous large-scale massacres, widespread and systematic rape and other forms of sexual violence, mutilation and torture, and large-scale forced conscription and use of child combatants. The violence blighted the lives of tens of thousands of civilians, displaced almost half of the population, and virtually destroyed the country’s infrastructure. “Prosecutions are vital to building respect for the rule of law, especially in a society like Liberia that has been devastated by conflict, thus making justice an important component to establishing sustainable peace” the group says.

In summary, Human Rights Watch believes that while the TRC recommendation has many elements that can contribute to fair and effective trails including; international and national judges working together to try cases with a majority of internationally-appointed judges serving on each judicial panel; a combination of international and Liberian staff working in the prosecutor’s office; a committee to witness protection, and plans to conduct outreach to local communities about trials, at the same time, the proposal for prosecution contain several weaknesses including, the recommendation that certain individuals who cooperated with the TRC not be prosecuted; not focusing on individuals bearing the greatest responsibility; the prosecutor is not appointed by international actors; and international crimes and modes of individual criminal liability are not explicitly provided for etc.

Consequently, the Organization has made several recommendations to ensuring an effective internationally acceptable ICCL inclusive of; a Mandate to prosecute persons most responsible for alleged crimes including military or political; that judges be required to have practical experience trying criminal cases; that fair trial standards be drawn more directly from the statutes of international and hybrid courts and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in order to fully adhere to international standards and that trials in absentia be explicitly prohibited amongst others.

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Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah


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