Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hold accountable those bearing the greatest responsibility for atrocities

By Bernard Gbayee Goah
President, Operation We Care for Liberia

While allegations of War Crimes remain unaddressed, and those suspected of committing them are the judges in charge of running the affairs of the country, elections in Liberia cannot be considered credible.
There are major war crime suspects among candidates vying for public offices in Liberia. Living under dark cloud of guilt and suspicion, former warlords and their financiers have rejected the way forward to peace. They have refused to accept the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) recommendations, even though it is one of the best available remedies for sustainable peace.

After reviewing all the evidence, the Truth Commission felt it necessary to recommend that Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf be banned from public office for no less than 30 years. This is a clear indication of the extent of her involvement in the carnage. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s incredulity in the face of mounting evidence is incomprehensible. The presence of Madam Sirleaf and other warlords in government makes it impossible for Liberia’s justice system to function properly. And again, Madam Sirleaf and her accomplices have presented themselves as presidential aspirants whereas they should be answering questions in a Liberian War Crime court.
A step toward ensuring elections in Liberia are credible would be by firstly implementing the TRC final recommendations as it relates to war crimes. We call for an establishment of a Liberian war crime court capable of investigating crimes committed in Liberia from 1979 to present.  We are very concern that prior to the establishment of the ICC, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and her accomplices may have committed crimes against humanity. The ICC has jurisdiction only from July 2002, the date of the ratification of the Rome Statute.  Therefore, we do not see the establishment of a war crime court in Liberia possible under the Rome Statute which only investigate crimes committed after its ratification. "Rome Statute" is the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC) that prosecutes individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.  We at this point recommend a special Statute other than the Rome Statute that will enhance the establishment of a Liberian war crime court. The fact is, there are evidence of international crimes been committed by certain individuals in Liberia pre the establishment of the ICC.

A peaceful Liberia demands accountability, justice, and reconciliation. Those bearing the greatest responsibility for atrocities in Liberia must be held accountable. They must not be allowed to walk freely! This is necessary in order to begin genuine reconciliation.

The Liberian government must demonstrate rule of law by establishing a Liberian war crime court to investigate crimes committed in Liberia during the course of its civil war. This will serve as a deterrent to those who believe in the use of arms to obtain state power.
Lastly, in the interest of human right and justice, we also recommend that the Liberian government freeze all assets of former President Charles Taylor and his associates as demanded by the UN Security Council.

May God save Liberia!
Contact Bernard Goah at:  (503) 297-5974 Email: goahbg@gmail.com 

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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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