Monday, December 2, 2013

War Crimes Court for Liberia is Necessary

 Bernard Gbayee Goah
President, Operation We care for Liberia
Written by Bernard Gbayee Goah
President, Operation We care for Liberia

The exponential increase in the lack of public trust and confidence in President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s ability to lead the people of Liberia concerns me.

 Given the high level of corruption with the disappearances of millions of taxpayers’ money under the very supervision of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, it is now clear that her reelection to the presidency for the second time was actually  an endorsement of the status quo and a return to business as usual in Liberia.

Ms. Sirleaf is incapable of preventing Liberia from again returning to violence in the absence of the UN troops. The truth is, the presence of UN Troops in Liberia only gives a false sense of security with nothing being done to address imperative issues. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is not capable of navigating her own people through the rough waters of justice because doing so would mean holding herself accountable. I know this to be true because after reviewing all the evidence, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia 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.

Liberia’s past history has shown us that it is important for a sitting President to listen and take corrective steps while her people are still whining, writing articles, suggesting solutions, and talking. 

When the people become quiet, a situation develops whereby the top of the water is still and yet boiling underneath. 

Liberia has experienced the result of such a situation many times as a nation. I am sure Liberians do not want to experience it again.

The Liberian people have said over and over that they want the establishment of a War Crimes Court for Liberia. As a President of a nation, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is under the obligation to not only listen but also do something about it because the people are the government. But the Liberian President is just out of touch with reality. She has deliberately ignored the will of the people and the people are now anxious. Mistrust, suspicion and fear have hindered progress. Tension is rising and pressure is building across the entire country. To ignore this fact as President Sirleaf has done is a clear indication of a disconnected leader.

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf must not be allowed to provide cover for persons who have committed unspeakable atrocities in Liberia. Impunity must not trump accountability. This will make it difficult - if not impossible – to restore normalcy in post-war Liberia under the leadership of persons bearing the greatest responsibility for the senseless destruction of lives and properties in that country.

If the people of Liberia allow rape, torture and murder to go unpunished, soon there will be nothing left to protect. 

Recently, in the country of Chad, the country’s former president Hissene Habre was arrested at his home and is presently in the custody of the Senegalese police. Habre is accused of killing and torturing tens of thousands of political opponents during his eight-year reign from 1982 until1990.  In Liberia, an estimation of more than two hundred thousand innocent people were killed, hundreds of thousands uprooted from their homes, and hundreds of thousands more displaced in foreign lands as a result of the country’s brutal war.
Atrocities committed in Liberia are so grave, personal experience of the war is not required to understand the magnitude of what took place. But because nothing has been done to deter those who perpetrated crimes against humanity, they have now capitalized on the negligence of the Liberian people to institute justice only to inflict harm on the country’s economy. 
Corruption is now institutionalized, and impunity greatly favored.  If justice for Chad is a must how about justice for Liberia?

The more we ignore the level of madness that visited Liberia; The more we ignore that countless number of innocent people were raped; tortured, enslaved, and killed; The more we illusively think that the passing of time will eventually diminish the severity of what took place in Liberia; The more illusions we build for a peaceful and reconciled Liberian nation. 

For we know, that it is just too wrong for those accused of committing war crimes, and crimes against humanity to be the same people in-charge of running the affairs of victims of war.
 If we agree that those accused of war crimes in the country of Chad, should not be the same people running the affair of the Chadian people; 
Then we as well must agree, that it is also wrong for those accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Liberia, to be the same people running the affairs of victims of war in that country.

Today in Liberia, suspects of war crimes and crimes against humanity are now dictating the pace of a “government favored justice process” that holds no one accountable. This is just too unacceptable at all levels!

Irrespective of the headaches and ruckus that may come with it, the people of Liberia must hold accountable those bearing the greatest responsibility for war crimes, and crimes against humanity. And surely the UN could help by standing with war victims as well.

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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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