Sealed Indictments Await Liberian Warlords

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The Executive Director for Global Justice and Research Project, Mr. Hassan Bility (right) and a human rights campaigner

-Before December

Before December, or perhaps beginning November this year, at least three indictments are expected to be filed on three prominent or principle perpetrators of the Liberian Civil War for gross human rights violation, including violations of international humanitarian law, international human rights law, war crimes and egregious domestic laws of Liberia as well as economic crimes.

Sealed indictments are typically used in prosecuting individuals or criminal networks in cases where revealing names could lead individuals to flee or destroy evidence.

The Executive Director for Global Justice and Research Project, Hassan Bility, on Thursday, August 30, told members of the House’s Joint Committee on Claims and Petitions, Judiciary, National Peace, Religion and Reconciliation and Ways, Means and Finance and Committee on Good Governance that, if the Liberian government fails to establish the War Crimes Court, there will be sealed indictments before December for some of the key perpetrators.

Mr. Bility said the Global Justice and Research Project is and has been investigating mayhem and atrocities that occurred in the country and did projects in other countries.

He made the statement when he was making his case before the House’s Joint Committee, to draft and legislate the War Crimes Court Bill in consonance with Chapter 12 of the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) — Recommendations on Accountability: Extraordinary Court.

He said that in the near future, “hopefully next year, there would be more sealed indictments at airports, border points, and other residential areas for perpetrators of the war which, though it ended since 2003, the scars remain visible.”

Mr. Bility said that many Liberians and the international community believe that President George Weah is the most suitable leader of Liberia as of now to fully implement the TRC’s recommendations without fear or favor.

“As far as we know, Weah is untainted and the preferred person to establish the War Crimes Court,” Mr. Bility said.

He said unlike former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who is among several other Liberians that were affected by the TRC report, President Weah as of now has no record of human rights violations, including war crimes.

Former President Sirleaf was among others that the TRC report barred from participating in Liberian politics for 30 years.

Bility added, “There are very clear indications that when George Weah was elected President of Liberia, people around the world, who are very much interested in making sure that this happens, thought that Weah was the best candidate that would have the TRC report implemented, because we don’t have any record on him for the commission of war crimes. The whole world believes that President Weah is suitably placed as the right person right now that can exercise that political will.”

Also in attendance for the War Crimes Court’s hearing, were officials from Citizens Action for the establishment of War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia. They included the organization’s chairman Fubbi F. A. Henries, grandson of the slain House Speaker Richard Henries; Franklin K. Wesseh, Co-Chair; and Richard D. W. Allen, liaison officer.

In his opening statements, Henries lauded the Joint Committee for the hearing, and called on lawmakers to begin the process of ending the culture of impunity in the country by establishing the War and Economic Crimes Court as mandated by the TRC.

According to him, it was due to the failure of Liberians to seek justice following the April 12, 1980 coup d’etat that led to the 1985 failed coup, and subsequently the 14-year civil war.

He warned that failure to bring to book those that bear the greater responsibility of the war as recommended by the TRC, might likely lead to a future recurrence of the civil war.

“We call on you [lawmakers] to ensure that the Act that established the TRC is respected. We believe that if we start to stick to reparations, victims will forget about the issues of war crimes and economic crimes. And 20 or 30 years from now, people will come up and say let’s kill them and appease their mouths, and give them some sweets. Because that is the culture. It’s time to put an end to the culture of impunity.”

The lawmakers raised concerns on the security and economic implications of establishing a war and economic crimes court, and questioned the petitioners as to why they have been “very vocal” in their campaign for the establishment of the war crimes court under the Weah Administration, as compared to the past regime.

According to the Chairperson of the Committee on Claims and Petition, Representative Rustolyn S. Dennis, the hearing marked the beginning of series of public dialogues that the Joint Committee will hold with Liberians from the two divides — those in favor of a war crimes court and those against, to ascertain their views.

Rep. Dennis called on the petitioners to re-petition the House of Representatives and attach separate requests, including War Crimes Court, Economic Crimes Court, and the implementation of the TRC.

The female lawmaker said that under the rules, one cannot do a joint bill.

In can be recalled that in May this year, a group of Liberians assembled at the Capitol Building and petitioned the 54th Legislature to fully implement the TRC report.

According to the petitioners, fully implementing the TRC recommendations would reconcile thousands of Liberians who still feel aggrieved by the manner in which they were victimized during the war.

9 COMMENTS

  1. The fact that an incumbent president “is untainted and has no record of human rights violations, including war crimes” does not mean he should be complacent, ignore, downplay, or disregard, the safety and happiness of his citizens and country; not to talk about his country´s compelling national intrerests and national security concerns.

    President Tejan Kabah of Sierra Leone was also “untainted and had no record of human rights violations, including war crimes”, but he stood his ground that in order to protect the peace and stability and national security of Sierra Leone, Sierra Leone would never ever establish such a court on Sierra Leonean soil!!!

    SO, FOR LOSERS of election camouflaged as journalists etc. or others who choice of leadership was rejected By the people, TO BELIEVE that not only His Excellency President George Manneh Weah – the chief defender of the national security of Liberia, but ANY NATION´S PRESIDENT AND COMMADER IN CHIEF OF NATIONAL SECURITY WOULD RISK HIS PEOPLE AND COUNTRY´S SAFETY, HAPPINESS, AND NATIONAL SECURITY to please such losers etc. etc., because the president “is untainted and has no record of human rights violations, including war crimes” IS A MIRAGE!

    National security which is in toto, the safety and happiness of the people, as mandated By the Liberian Constitution, takes precedence over all others!!!

    And this has absolutely no ligament to a president been “untainted and has no record of human rights violations, including war crimes”! NOR CAN IT BE A REASON FOR A PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF NATIONAL SECURITY TO BETRAY HIS CITIZENRY AND COUNTRY!!!

  2. The fact that an incumbent president “is untainted and has no record of human rights violations, including war crimes” does not mean he should be complacent, ignore, downplay, or disregard, the safety and happiness of his citizens and country; not to talk about his country´s compelling national intrerests and national security concerns.

    President Tejan Kabah of Sierra Leone was also “untainted and had no record of human rights violations, including war crimes”, but he stood his ground that in order to protect the peace and stability and national security of Sierra Leone, Sierra Leone would never ever establish such a court on Sierra Leonean soil!!!

    SO, FOR LOSERS of election camouflaged as journalists etc. or others who choice of leadership was rejected By the people, TO BELIEVE that not only His Excellency President George Manneh Weah – the chief defender of the national security of Liberia, but ANY NATION´S PRESIDENT AND COMMADER IN CHIEF OF NATIONAL SECURITY WOULD RISK HIS PEOPLE AND COUNTRY´S SAFETY, HAPPINESS, AND NATIONAL SECURITY to please such losers etc. etc., because the president “is untainted and has no record of human rights violations, including war crimes” IS A MIRAGE!

    National security which is in toto, the safety and happiness of the people, as mandated By the Liberian Constitution, takes precedence over all others!!!

    And this has absolutely no ligament to a president been “untainted and has no record of human rights violations, including war crimes”! NOR CAN IT BE A REASON FOR A PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF NATIONAL SECURITY TO BETRAY HIS CITIZENRY AND COUNTRY TO THEIR DETRIMENT TO PLEASE A SEGMENT OF THE NATION OR ANY ENTITY OR INDIVIDUALS!!!

  3. I had serious admiration for Hassan Bility for his journalistic work during the Taylor era for courageously speaking and reporting the truth. He was subsequently jailed in a toilet hole by Taylor which prompted national and international calls for his immediate release…. the rest is history.

    Hassan you are absolutely erroneous to used the unblemished image or records of President Weah in this controversial call for justice through the establishment of a war crime court in liberia. The president image nor his status can determine this war crime court establishment but liberians themselves through the legislature and national referendum. According to you, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was massively mentioned in the report as she could not implement the TRC report, however Hassan, you and all of the so called contemporary warriors of justice who didn’t cast a single vote for President Weah 2011 and 2017,had the leverage to have vigorously advocated so that Ellen didn’t get a second term in 2011, yet you all silenced your vocal cavities with the audacity that she was a untouchable darling of the west. Missed opportunity to be to be true for justice calls happen.The rope that you never employed to hang the German monkey will never be used to hang the Country Giant. Ellen was awarded for keeping the Liberian peace for twelve years, not the implementation of TRC report. This shows that the international community is interesting in President Weah keeping the peace also and not the unbalanced TRC findings implementation. I stand up for wholestic peace, stability , reconciliation and the forward march of my country to tangible development.

  4. Who are some of the key players you talking about here? Come on Bility, let us know who they are. By letting us know who they are, we will know how serious you are. By the way which court will issue this indictment?

    • Hassan Bility childishly thinks a war crimes court for Liberia or any other state is the same as states funding him for witnesses against culprits already in the custody of states. Hence he must come to bluff in Monrovia while justifying donations he pockets every now and then.

      In other words, Haasan and others in their ignorance, fail to acknowledge the reality that even after a century would pass before international criminal law eventually awoke from its torpor,and the most important contributing factor in its resurgence been the establishment of the ad hoc International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda (ICTY) in the early 1990´s, the establishments of those tribunals were no threat to the national security of those countries., hence the major powers ensured the billions of dollars for the erection and operations of those tribunals.

      But in the case of Liberia, the threat to national security is convincingly clear, and no one is willing to waste billions of euros or dollars to please rejected politicians and other political activists camouflaged as journalists and justice seekers. These election losers bent on destablizing their own homeland because of their greed for power need to have a rethink, or at least, go back to school and study the dictates of international justice and national security.

  5. I don’t know why people give this Hassan Bilitty audience. The record shows that he belonged to one of the warring factions and a machinery in the hand of the warring faction. This cause is now bread and butter for him and he has been vigorously pursuing it. What is his daily work outside this so-called crusading? Where is he getting money from outside feeding on the gullible? The gullible will only be following him. He claimed now to be living in Dubai, why is he jumping from one country to the other. He should be told to keep quiet and let Liberia heal. People are looking for ways of providing for their families and live a decent life. This unknown quack journalist before the Civil war should go and eat his ill-gotten wealth. Let us rest!!!!!!!!

  6. Records show that Hassan Bility was a member of LURD, one of the warring factions in the Liberian Civil War, so why is he now disguising himself as a human right activist? Really, Bility, who’re trying to fool? We know you’re being paid to pressure the government to establish a war crimes court in Liberia. Establishing a war crimes court isn’t a great idea because Liberians are all connected along ethnic lines. For example, who’s going to force these so-called warlords to attend the court proceedings? You already live abroad and won’t be affected by any instability in Liberia. Have you even considered ordinary people who just want to get on with their lives and have no money to flee another unrest? Selfish, selfish and shameful – you’re all about serving your masters abroad.

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