Tuesday, November 23, 2010

U.S. Provides $4.5 Million to Fund Special Court For Sierra Leone Trial of Charles Taylor

Sources: America.gov and
allAfrica.com 

On November 22 the Department of State released a $4.5 million grant for FY2011 to the Special Court of Sierra Leone.

This grant demonstrates the U.S. commitment to ensuring that those most responsible for the atrocities committed during the war in Sierra Leone are brought to justice. This grant was expedited due to the financial crisis the Court is currently facing.


By all calculations, the Court would have run out of money by early December which could have jeopardized the continuation of the Charles Taylor trial before the Court reached a verdict.

The Special Court for Sierra Leone was set up jointly by the Government of Sierra Leone and the United Nations. It is mandated to try those who bear the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law committed in the territory of Sierra Leone since November 30, 1996.

The SCSL indicted former Liberian President Charles Taylor and 12 others for war crimes and crimes against humanity in 2003, due to their involvement in and support of some of the worst atrocities in Sierra Leone's civil war. The trials of three former leaders of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), of two members of the Civil Defense Forces (CDF) and three former leaders of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) have been completed, including appeals, leaving only the trial of Charles Taylor (two indictees died before the trial stage).

On June 16, 2006, the trial of Charles Taylor was transferred to The Hague because Taylor's continued presence and trial in Freetown represented an impediment to stability in the sub-region, a threat to the peace of Liberia and Sierra Leone, and a threat to international peace and security in the region. The trial of Charles Taylor is close to completion; the defense evidence concluded on November 12 and a trial judgment is due in mid-2011 with an appeal to be resolved by early 2012.
The trial of Charles Taylor is of enormous historical and legal significance as he is the first African head of state to be brought before an international tribunal to face charges for mass atrocities and gross violations of international humanitarian law. The Taylor prosecution delivers a strong message to all perpetrators of atrocities, including those in positions of power that they will be held accountable. It is imperative the international community prevents the Taylor trial from being suspended due to lack of financial resources, which is why the United States rushed its FY2011 contribution to the Court. We hope other donor states will follow our lead and find ways to financially support the Court until it has finished its mandate and justice has been served.

As a major donor to the Special Court, the United States serves on the Special Court's Management Committee in New York. To date, the United States has contributed $81,189,445 amount to the Special Court.

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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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