Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Liberia: War Crimes Court Bill Lands At Capitol

Written by E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor Source: The New Dawn

Calls for the establishment of a war crimes court here seems to be gaining momentum with the submission of a bill before the House of Representatives, requesting for the formation of such court to prosecute ex-warlords and others who played major role during the country’s crisis period.

Grand Bassa County Representative Byron Brown presented a draft bill to the House of Representatives Tuesday through plenary, calling for the establishment of a war crimes court for Liberia.

Brown, who got elected on the ticket of the opposition Liberty Party during the 2011 elections, said the ultimate purpose of the bill is to sustain the peace, achieving genuine national reconciliation and moving ahead with the national developmental agenda, unhindered.

“This has become the most prudent thing for us to do, my colleagues. It is said that giving aggressors an inch of the way does trigger in [them] false sense of greatness, thereby propelling such aggressors to an unending series of aggressions against the vulnerable of society”, he stressed.  

Brown noted that the Liberian Civil Conflict produced many aggressors, both within and outside the nation’s frontiers, who committed some of the worst crimes against humanity.

“Some of them planned, financed, supervised and executed the wanton destruction of our country and its human resource.

Today, they seem to be clinging to the mistaken belief that their actions against the nation and its people were justified. Even the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that was suggested, as a bridge to the future has been trampled upon, as its recommendations are being thrown into the dust bin, where than do we go for justice,?” the Grand Bassa lawmaker told plenary Tuesday in a determined tune. 

He said as a result, Liberians are kept in perpetual poverty, while the alleged perpetrators and their reported conies mellow in the resources of the state with demonstrated arrogance.

“It rests upon our shoulders as representatives of the people, to move to avert the potential re-occurrence of our national nightmare by taking practical steps to restrain the aggressors.

One way to do this is by unwaveringly enacting a law that specifically deals with the issue of war crimes committed in Liberia. This will be sufficient deterrence for re-entrance into the theater of conflict with disproportionate consequence”, he concluded.

The Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommended prosecution of ex-warlords and generals, who allegedly committed heinous crimes during the 14-year civil crisis, but the TRC recommendations, are being politicized. Meanwhile, the bill has been sent to the Judiciary, and Ways, Means and Finance committees to report to plenary in the shortest possible time.

Calls for the establishment of a war crimes court have been repeated time to time, beginning with lead campaigner Mulbah Morlu, who paraded caskets in the streets of Monrovia during a visit here by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Morlu however seems to have abandoned his campaign after he publicly lied that he met with President Obama in Ghana on the matter.

Liberian human rights lawyer Dempster Brown recently announced that he’s submitting a bill to the Liberian Legislature for the creation of a war crimes court.

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Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

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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