Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thomas Lubanga: ICC trial of DR Congo warlord to resume...Will Liberia be next??

TQ Harris Jr. writes in his article entitled: ("The End Of Business As Usual" dated May 9, 2008).
"Unless the hideous crimes committed during the war are adjudicated in a court of law and victims receive proper redress, it is impossible to move on. Liberia needs healing. And the healing process must begin by holding accountable those responsible for atrocities perpetrated against the people. This will not only signify a major step toward genuine reconciliation, it also will serve as a deterrent".

While the United Nations watches over Liberia, people who allegedly committed crimes against humanity during the country’s 14 years civil war walk freely. It is estimated that over 250, 000 Liberians including five Americans were killed during the process.

Now that the ICC has resumed the trial of yet another rebel leader in DR Congo, will Liberia be next???

Thomas Lubanga: ICC trial of DR Congo warlord to resume
Source: BBC News

The International Criminal Court's appeals chamber has ruled that a trial of a Congolese warlord should resume after a three-month suspension.

In July, judges halted Thomas Lubanga's trial on war crimes charges and ordered his release when prosecutors refused to hand information to the defence.

Friday's ruling reversed the decision, but also rebuked Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo for flouting court orders.

Mr Lubanga has denied using child soldiers in eastern DR Congo in 2002-3.

His is the first trial to start at the ICC at The Hague but the case has been plagued by legal challenges.

The 49 year old led the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), an ethnic Hema militia - one of six groups that fought for control of the gold-rich Ituri region.

The land struggle turned into an inter-ethnic war in which an estimated 50,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands were left homeless.

'Binding orders'

Mr Lubanga's trial was suspended in July after Mr Moreno Ocampo refused to confidentially disclose to the defence the identity of an intermediary used by investigators to work with prosecution witnesses.

The judges said his actions amounted to "a profound, unacceptable and unjustified intrusion into the role of the judiciary".

They also ordered Mr Lubanga's release, saying it was "no longer fair" to detain him.

On Friday, the appeals chamber reversed the decision, saying the trial chamber had erred by resorting immediately to a stay of proceedings without first imposing sanctions to force the prosecution to comply.

But presiding judge Sang-Hyun Song rejected the arguments of Mr Moreno Ocampo that the trial chamber had wrongly found that he had refused to comply with its orders, and had misconstrued his position with respect to his duties of protecting victims and witnesses.

The "orders of the chambers are binding and should be treated as such by all parties and participants unless and until they are suspended by the appeals chamber", Judge Song added.

According to the ICC indictment, Mr Lubanga is accused of having committed war crimes of enlisting and conscripting children under the age of 15 years in the UPC's military wing, the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (FPLC), and of using them to participate in hostilities.

His trial, which opened in 2009 after a seven-month delay over disputed confidential evidence, has been hit by repeated legal difficulties.

The first witness at the trial retracted his testimony after first saying he had been recruited by FPLC fighters on his way home from school.

One of the problems facing the court is that the Ituri region is still unstable. This means the safety of witnesses cannot be guaranteed.

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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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