BERNARD GBAYEE GOAH 32 POINTS
1. The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia.
2. 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.
3. The presence of United Nations troops has afforded Liberians the opportunity to solidify the peace as well as find solutions to the ills plaguing this nation. Knowing full well these troops will not remain indefinitely; it is imperative Liberians lay the foundation for rule of law; because it offers the best remedy for corruption, rape, land dispute, armed robbery as well as other pressing issues. And there is no better way to stabilize the country than to utilize the legal process to hold accountable those responsible for atrocities perpetrated against the Liberian people during the war.
4. Utilizing the legal process to hold accountable those responsible for atrocities perpetrated against the Liberian people during the war can only be done through a government whose officials have nothing to do with Liberia’s 15 years of madness. Only those with clean hands can champion such a noble cause.
5. Those who bear the greatest responsibilities for the horrors in Liberia must be held accountable for the crimes committed. Holding accountable individuals responsible for the rape, torture, and the cold-blooded murder of more than 300,000 men, women and children including 5 (five) American citizens is critical to restoring normalcy.
6. Decades of injustice, intimidation and abuse have rendered the Liberian people powerless. Liberians must pray the US, the key economic and security ally of Liberia, to intervene in the interest of justice and peace to save the state. Liberians must desperately seek the direct intervention of the United States of America to rescue Liberia specially this time.
7. Liberia needs retributive justice irrespective of the headaches and ruckus that may come with it.
8. Madam Sirleaf has claimed consistently that she had no role in the war that maimed and killed innocent people and destroyed the country’s entire infrastructure. She must be presented an opportunity to exonerate herself in a Liberian war crime court. If Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is responsible, as the evidence indicates, regardless whether such crimes were committed in Liberia or in Sierra Leon, it would be a travesty of justice to have indicted former president Charles Taylor and removed him from office; but yet allow Ms. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to remain head of state even though she also is suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
9. The evidence shows Ms. Sirleaf played a central role in the planning, financing and directing of a war so brutal, so violent and so devastating that experts have labeled it one of the worst in modern History. Ordering the NPFL forces to attack the then overcrowded City of Monrovia shows the extent to which Ms. Sirleaf was willing to go in order to become president.
10. Truth Commission has recommended, based upon review of the evidence, that Madam Sirleaf not hold public office for a period of 30 years. This recommendation must be respected by the Liberian government as well as be embraced by Liberia’s international partners including the United States of America.
11. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her accomplices must account for their role in the 15-year carnage that claimed more than 300,000 lives and wrecked the county’s entire infrastructure. This is the right thing to do, even if it means carrying out citizens’ arrest. Retribution must be swift, proportional and just. After all, democracy is not an event to be observed only on Election Day; rather it’s a way of life.
12. If the people of Liberia allow rape, torture and murder to go unpunished, soon there will be nothing left to protect. This is why it is important for the Civilize World (The United States of America) to break the cycle of poverty, ignorance, disease and untimely death by holding accountable those bearing the greatest responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity whether in Liberia or elsewhere on this planet. Surely the UN could help by standing with the victims as well.
13. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf must not be allowed to provide cover for persons who have committed unspeakable atrocities. Impunity must not trump accountability. This will make it difficult - if not impossible – to restore normalcy in post-war Liberia under the leadership of persons who are connected in any way to the senseless destruction of lives and properties in Liberia during the 15-year war.
14. The integrity of Liberia’s 2011 Presidential election will be seriously compromised with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the race while the TRC issue remains unresolved. Should this happen, fear is that the alternative is 100% obvious. Steps must be taken now to address this issue so confidence may be restored to Liberia’s electoral process. The present electoral system in Liberia does not work. In fact it is alleged that the current Election Commission chair is a member of a former warring faction. Therefore, the National Elections Commission (NEC) must be reconstituted and must be independent. It must operate in conformity with UN standards, in order to ensure that the rights and interests of Liberians are guaranteed, and that elections are organized in a manner that is acceptable to all.
15. Reelecting Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to the Presidency would be an endorsement of the status quo and a return to business as usual in Liberia.
16. Ms. Sirleaf is incapable of preventing Liberia from again returning to violence; the call for interim government in Liberia should be seen by Liberians and the international community as a commitment to transform Liberia into a nation of laws. And, should also be seen as an effort to end the culture of impunity.
17. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf should see reasons to consider stepping aside until she clarifies her role in the 15-year carnage in Liberia. Such reasons which are not difficult to find because of abundance evidences already provided by the Truth commission of Liberia.
18. The suggestion of President Johnson-Sirleaf stepping aside is based on documented evidence that Ms. Sirleaf as well as former president Charles Taylor and others may have broken the law. They are suspected of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity - offenses so contemptible there is no statutory limitation or safe haven within the civilized world.
19. Because Liberia’s legal system currently is in total disarray, those who planned, financed and executed the 15-year carnage have not yet been brought to justice, and there is no plan to heal the nation. U.N. travel ban and assets freeze have yet to be enforced. Liberians should consider a new direction in Leadership. The presence of U.N. Troops gives a false sense of security with nothing being done to address these issues.
20. Because Liberia’s legal system currently is in total disarray, persons guilty of rape and tortures continue to elude justice; their victims have no redress. The legal system of Liberia must be reinvented so that victims have an opportunity for redress.
21. The population is mired in hopelessness and despair. Liberians and the international partners must not allow chaos and lawlessness to engulf Liberia; Corruption in government must be minimized as soon as possible. This can only happen under an interim government with clean hands.
22. The issue of land dispute presents a clear and present danger. This must be serious address as soon as possible.
23. A large percentage of the population survives exclusively on remittances from abroad specially so from the US. This is a clear indication that the economy of the country is in danger!!!!
24. Because of the lack of proper system to work with as such the lack of rule of law in Liberia, the entire governmental system should be reinvented to reflect current reality in the country. This can only be done under an interim government with clean hands.
25. Liberians must be aware at this time that corruption has engulfed Liberia as such government officials have begun singing bogus contracts that have the propensity to turn Liberia into a bankrupt nation .
26. It would be a wise idea for Liberians to consider recommending the setting up of an interim Government to oversee activities of a contractual nature since it is widely alleged that most top government officials in the current Liberian government have committed some forms of crimes against humanity.
27. That such proposed interim government must work in collaboration with Liberia’s international partners in carrying out the responsibility of ensuring that all public financial and budgetary commitments entered into by government are properly reviewed and proven to be transparent, non-monopolistic and in accordance with the laws of Liberia and internationally accepted norms of commercial practice.
28. That such proposed interim government is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that public officers will not use their positions to benefit from any contract financed from public funds.
29. That such interim government is charged with the responsibility of ensuring the formulation and effective implementation of sound macro-economic policies that will support sustainable development goals.
30. Collaborate with the international institutions to provide finance to Liberia in carrying out its functions.
31. That such Interim Government shall request the United Nations, the African Union, ECOWAS and other members of the International Community as appropriate specially the United States of America, to jointly conduct, monitor, and supervise the next elections in the country.
32. That education and registration programs be organized by the newly reconstituted NEC, in collaboration with other national and International organizations under the supervision of the United States, ECOWAS, and the United Nations.
Only a government with people who had no part to play in the 15 years carnage in Liberia can move the country forward.
Note: Specific credit is due to Honorable TQ Harris Jr. whose selected speeches were used to come up with most of these points. Suggesting the setting up an interim government is in no way connected with the speeches of Honorable TQ. Harris Jr. The author of the above article takes responsibility thereof.