Monday, September 20, 2010

Defense Lawyers Want Former South African President Thabo Mbeki to Testify in the Hague

Charles Taylor
Defense lawyers for Charles Taylor have indicated that they want former South African President Thabo Mbeki to testify in The Hague about the circumstances under which Mr. Taylor stepped down as president of Liberia in 2003.
By Alpha Sesay

Defense lawyers for Charles Taylor have indicated that they want former South African President Thabo Mbeki to testify in The Hague about the circumstances under which Mr. Taylor stepped down as president of Liberia in 2003.
This was disclosed in a September 16, 2010 news article by the Associated Press (AP) after an interview with Mr. Taylor's lead defense lawyer Courtenay Griffiths, who is presently in South Africa on an investigative trip. In the AP interview, Mr. Griffiths said that he wants to speak with Mr. Mbeki about the circumstances under which Mr. Taylor stepped down as president of Liberia in 2003. Mr. Griffiths said he also wants to speak with South African weapons makers about allegations that Mr. Taylor purchased war materials in South Africa while on a visit there in the late 1990s.

"It is suggested by the prosecution that Mr. Taylor did not step down voluntarily as president of Liberia - he was forced out of office by among others, Thabo Mbeki... Mr. Taylor flatly denies that he was put under any pressure to step down," Mr. Griffiths said in his interview with the AP.

Mr. Griffiths said he believes that Mr. Mbeki's evidence about the issue would support Mr. Taylor's account that he was not forced out of power by African leaders but that he voluntarily relinquished power in 2003.

Mr. Griffiths said he has asked to meet and speak with Mr. Mbeki in South Africa. The former South African President's spokesperson, however, says that no request has been received to speak with Mr. Mbeki on the matter, the AP reports.

Mr. Griffiths has also said that he does not intend to subject Mr. Mbeki to any subpoena by the Special Court for Sierra Leone. He says he wants Mr. Mbeki to voluntarily speak about the issue, and if the former South African president decides not to testify about the issue, then Mr. Taylor's defense team will not pursue it further.

Defense lawyers also want to disprove allegations that Mr. Taylor bought weapons from South African weapons makers during a 1997 visit to South Africa. Prosecutors allege that Mr. Taylor did buy war materials with proceeds from rough diamonds that were given to him by rebel forces from Sierra Leone. It is alleged that Mr. Taylor gave some of these rough diamonds to British supermodel Naomi Campbell after they both attended a star-studded dinner that was hosted by former South African president Nelson Mandela.

During Mr. Taylor's testimony in January 2010, lead prosecutor Brenda Hollis suggested in her cross-examination that when Mr. Taylor returned from South Africa in 1997, he had a problem with the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) commander General Victor Malu because General Malu believed that Mr. Taylor had brought war metarials back with him from South Africa. Mr. Taylor denied these suggestions.

Mr. Griffiths now believes that speaking with weapons makers in South Africa will help clarify whether Mr. Taylor was involved in any arms deals during his visit to South Africa.

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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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