Monday, September 20, 2010

LiberiaTruth and Reconciliation Commission (Monrovia): Jerome Verdier to Address International Justice Forum

Cllr Jerome J Verdier, Sr.
The Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia, Cllr Jerome J Verdier, Sr. has left the country to participate in an international conference on the jurisdiction of international justice in Africa.


The Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia, Cllr Jerome J Verdier, Sr. has left the country to participate in an international conference on the jurisdiction of international justice in Africa.
The conference which convenes in Berlin, Germany on the 20th of September 2010 is organized by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) in cooperation with Deutsche Welle under the theme “Everything That Is Just. International Penal Jurisdiction in Africa.”

Cllr Verdier has been invited to participate as keynote speaker at this international event which brings together criminal justice experts, justice advocates and practitioners from around Africa and the world in government, civil society and special criminal tribunals like the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. The ICC was established to redress mass crimes and heinous violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in situations of violent conflicts and war as occurred in Africa, Europe and other parts of the world.

Cllr Verdier was invited in his capacity as Chairman of the Liberian TRC to share the experiences of Liberia and the “challenges and difficulties of overcoming conflict and civil war”. He is also expected to share perspectives on the jurisdiction of international justice in Africa.

The TRC was commissioned in June 2006 to investigate and document human rights violations in Liberia’s turbulent past from 1979 to 2003 as an outcome of the Liberia Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Accra which ended over a decade of civil war characterized by massive human rights violations in which over 250,000 persons are estimated to have lost their lives.

The commission completed its mandate and presented its final edited report in December 2009 to the Government of Liberia recommending amongst other measures the establishment of an “Extraordinary Criminal Court” in Liberia to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity committed within the territory of Liberia as well as prosecution for other violations under the domestic criminal statutes of Liberia. The Commission also recommended further accountability measures that will ensure certain personalities be barred from holding political office for 30 years because of their roles during the conflict.

A TRC Press Release issued over the week end quoted Cllr Verdier as “expressing satisfaction over the acceptance of the work of the Commission and its recommendations by the Government and people of Liberia and praying to God Almighty that the Liberian nation will come to grips with the truism that justice, in whatever shape, form or manner, after a violent conflict such as we have experienced in Liberia, is the surest guarantee against impunity and repetition of the past”.

“Justice for all…” he is quoted as saying “…is the foundation of Liberia’s existence; it is neither an alternative nor an option, it is the way to lasting peace, unity, security, national reconciliation, healing and stability in Liberia”.

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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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