Monday, October 3, 2011

ICC, Not just Ivory Coast, come to Liberia too!

 

ICC, Not just Francophone Ivory Coast, come to Anglophone Liberia too!
By Bernard Gbayee Goah
President, Operation We Care for Liberia
While crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by a handful of individuals go unquestioned in Liberia popularly known as “Little America” amongst its West African neighbors, the International Criminal Court judges have given the ICC's prosecutor the go-ahead to open an investigation into post-election violence in neighboring “French Ivory Coast”. 
However, if the ICC should come to Liberia as a result of some kind of intervention only to concern itself with investigating post-election violence after the 2011 elections, justice would not be considered served to Liberia’s 15 years’ war victims.  Few questions that must be answered are:
1.       What if Post elections violence does not occur in Liberia during these elections period, will Liberia’s current war victim receive justice at all??
2.       Will the ICC have interest in investigating crimes committed in Liberia from 1979 - 2003? 
The above are questions that must be addressed and not just the investigation of post elections violence. The fact is there are war crime suspects in Liberia right now walking freely while victims of war pray for justice that may not come at all if nothing is done.
Unlike Ivory Coast where evidence of war crimes are still under investigation, in Liberia, 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.  The NPFL carried out her orders and thousands of innocent people were killed.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her accomplices must account for their role in the 15-year carnage in Liberia that claimed more than 250,000 lives, raped countless mothers, children, and wrecked the county’s entire infrastructure. This is the right thing to do, even if it means carrying out citizens’ arrest. After all, democracy is not an event to be observed only during the period of election or on Election Day; rather it’s a way of life.

Even though her testimony at Liberia’s Truth Commission hearing proved otherwise, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has claimed consistently during these elections period 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 war crime court. If Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is responsible, as the evidence indicates, regardless whether such crimes were committed in Liberia or elsewhere pre or post 2003, 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 financially supported as well as ordered a rebel group (NPFL) to committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.
If the people of Liberia and the rest of the world allow rape, torture and murder to go unpunished, soon there will be nothing left to protect. This is why it is important for the International Community to break the cycle of ignorance 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.  And yet … surely, the United States of America and the United Nations could both help by standing with war victims in Liberia but … behold the US Ambassador to Liberia befriends Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf while UN peace keepers currently control the security of the country in which a war crime suspect (Madam Johnson-Sirleaf) runs the affairs of Liberia’s war victims. The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia.
Lastly, with the help of France and the Ivorian people, the International Criminal Court (ICC) judges have given the ICC's prosecutor the go-ahead to open an investigation into post-election violence in the French Ivory Coast.  Let the ICC also come to the aid of war victims in Liberia. After all, Anglophone (Liberia) needs protection too. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal 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.  

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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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