Friday, May 25, 2012

Liberia: Prince Johnson Fears ICC Trial


Sen. Prince Johnson 
The one-time leader of the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL), now senator of Nimba County, Thursday claimed that the Independent Human Rights Commission (INHRC) has announced plans to forward him and others listed in the TRC report for prosecution to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for trial.

During a press conference held at the Capitol Building, Sen. Johnson, listed in the TRC report as the 'most notorious' that must be tried for war crimes, said he has

"serious problem" with such move by the INHRC.

"We want the legality to prevail, the INHRC has no legal ground, authority to contact The Hague or recommend anybody there for prosecution. You have to do that through the government.

"The government is not the executive mansion; there are three branches; it has to be legislated by law. The ICC does not take request from any human rights group; they take report from the government," Sen. Johnson said.

But contacted for clarification, Commissioner James Torh of the Independent National Human Rights Commission said the Commission has made no such recommendation.

"Sending people to the ICC is a grave matter and it must be the government's decision. We have not made any such recommendation to the Government and it does not mean we cannot make it in the future under the right circumstances. But at no time have we met to decide that Senator Johnson should be transferred to the ICC."

He said it is unfortunate that Commissioner Thomas Brewer gave held a press conference claiming that Sen. Johnson is slated for trial when no such decision was taken.

However, Sen. Johnson told journalists: "We came to free this country from oppression... from dictatorial regime. But if the law say we have to face prosecution, I am not above the law, but there are problems; the act that established the TRC gave it a specific mandate to be submitted to the legislature by the president within ten days."

"That submission has been made by the TRC to the president but she has refused to submit it to the legislature for almost two years now.

The whole report should be sent to the legislature for debate and the end result would allow the human rights commission to work," Sen. Johnson noted.

He suggested that the human rights groups should be "thinking on how to recover all the conventional weapons that were used to fight the war".

"These were conventional weapons that only people with so much money could get, we were not capable of purchasing a single barrel so how did we get those classical weapons that we used during the war? They were giving to us by Madam Sirleaf, Amos Sawyer, Richard Tolbert, Harry Greaves and many others who served in a group call the association of Liberians for constitutional democracy established in 1985," he charged.

He suggested that President Sirleaf should also be recommended for prosecution to the ICC for "aiding and abetting" them (warlords) during the war.

Sen. Johnson: "It could be US$10 million, because US$10,000 could not buy any guy. Because US$10,000 cannot be your contribution towards somebody that you push in the war front to fight.

"Who determines who goes to palaver hut and who doesn't go to palaver hut? Because those who aided and abetted are the key figures, if they have not sponsored and brought arms, we would not come forth to fight. So why are you only focusing on fighter, fighter, fighter?" he questioned.

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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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