‘Undermining the TRC Report’?

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Cllr. Jerome J. Verdier, former TRC Chair,

— Five former TRC commissioners distance themselves from their former chairman, Cllr. Jerome Verdier’s allegations of Koijee’s connection with civil war 

Following a recent outburst on social media by a lady named Jestina Taylor, who accused Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson T. Koijee of involvement in crimes against humanity during the Liberian civil war, the former chairman of the erstwhile Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Cllr. Jerome Verdier, emerged to echo the allegations made against Koijee by Ms. Taylor. In a response, Mayor Koijee said the attempt by Cllr. Verdier to have his character tainted as one of the perpetrators of the 14-year bloody civil crisis in the country indicates that he (Verdier) and his likes intend to undermine the TRC report.

Koijee’s response apparently struck a chord with five other former TRC commissioners, who stand in agreement with the mayor that Verdier’s support of Jestina Taylor’s allegations could undermine the credibility of the TRC report. They have therefore emerged to declare their distance from their former chairman’s remarks, which were made outside the scope of the TRC report and in his own capacity at the helm of a separate, unrelated organization.

Cllr. Jerome Verdier was the Chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that investigated the causes of the Liberian civil war and recorded major crimes that were perpetrated by fighters and warlords.

Cllr. Verdier, who now heads a justice advocacy group known as International Justice Group (IJG), late last year unveiled to the public that Jefferson Koijee, 36 years old, participated in the war that ended 17 years ago and committed some of the heinous crimes.

In reaction to the allegation, the four former TRC Commissioners including John H. T. Stewart, Massa Washington, Gerald Coleman, Dede Dolopei, and Cllr. Pearl Brown Bull, say accusation against Koijee that he participated in the war and committed war crimes and crimes against humanity is contrary to records compiled about activities of the devastating war.

According to a release signed by former chairman of the TRC’s Committee on Report Writing, John H. T. Stewart, “The four former TRC commissioners informed the public that at no time during these engagements did the TRC receive a statements, whether written or verbal, from any witness, perpetrator, or person of interest suggesting that Jefferson T. Koijee was a part of any warring faction.”

“Even in our individual capacities, we did not hear or receive any information in this regard,” said the release.

Jefferson T. Koijee is a Liberian and now heads the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC).

Jefferson T. Koijee, Mayor, City of Monrovia

The release further said “Mayor Koijee’s name never filtered through our process, not even remotely. Former TRC commissioners feel it expedient to provide the clarification for the record because of blurred lines in distinguishing between the chairman of the TRC, Cllr. Jerome Verdier, and the Executive Director of the IJG, Cllr. Jerome Verdier.”

The release noted that at no time was Mayor Koijee accused of being connected to perpetration of crimes against groups or individuals or linked to gross human rights violations as well as war crimes or crimes against humanity as stated by Cllr. Verdier.

The former TRC Commissioners in their communication said they were concerned about the matter because the Executive Director of the IJG was their former chairman and anything that he says that is not in consonance with the TRC Report would be detrimental to their character as well.

“Former TRC commissioners would like to inform the public that for the entirety of the work on the commission which spanned five years, the TRC engaged in a massive and extensive consultative outreach process. For example, the TRC collected more than 22,000 statements, conducted dozens of personal interviews and over 500 live public testimonies from witnesses, perpetrators, direct victims, persons of interest and also several dozens of in-camera hearings, none of which connected Koijee to a war crime or crimes against humanity,” said the Commissioners.

Additionally, a national consultative conference, women’s conference, and children conference were held. The TRC also conducted a robust diaspora project, extending its project to Liberians and others living in the West African sub-region and over 10 cities in the United States and Europe, from where no one came out with the name Jefferson T. Koijee.

The release added that “Commissioners would also like to state for the record that during the work of the TRC, Jefferson T. Koijee was one of several youth volunteers who provided his free services in assisting with the sensitization and public outreach component of the TRC engagements.”

Prior to publishing the TRC Final Report in June 2009, an argument ensued among the Commissioners for what some said was not in their favor.  According to an unimpeachable source of the TRC, two of the Commissioners did not sign the final report at the time because their relatives and friends whom they did not expect to be named in the report for crimes were mentioned.

Meanwhile, in Cllr. Verdier’s recent article titled, “The Koijee’s Dossier,” he accused Koijee of being an associate of Chucky Taylor, son of former President Charles G. Taylor.

Verdier also referenced allegation by Jestina Taylor that she saw Mr. Koijee with Chuckie Taylor during the war and killed a baby.

Verdier also accused Koijee of being the architect of series of human rights violations in the Weah-led administration; making a specific reference to the Montserrado County electoral violence in which Koijee was accused of allegedly ordering the flogging of peaceful citizens.

The article was published in several local dailies, including the People’s newspaper — a satirical bulletin in Monrovia.

One of the former TRC commissioners notes that, even if Jefferson T. Koijee was involved in the Liberian civil war, he would have been involved as a child soldier. “The TRC report recommended that all child soldiers be granted amnesty. Therefore, Koijee would have turned 18 or 19 years of age by the time the war ended,” the commissioner said.

“Therefore, if there are any other violations of human rights committed by Koijee after the war or in recent time, that would fall under the purview of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR), not the TRC,” the former commissioner added.

Cllr. Jerome Verdier has yet to respond to the statement by his fellow former commissioners. A text message sent him prior to the publication of this story has not been answered.

Mayor Jefferson T. Koijee, upon reading the statement by Cllr. Verdier threatened a lawsuit against the former TRC Chairman and Director of the IJG for linking him to the commission of ‘heinous crimes.’

Koijee: “I worked with Jerome Verdier during my days in advocacy when he served as chairperson of the TRC. He knows me very well. He knows my history. He knows that I was one of those young persons who went to jail because of our advocacy for the establishment of the TRC. We worked with the Commission, which Jerome Verdier chaired, to protect the TRC report despite many attempts by perpetrators of the war to undermine this national instrument. It is therefore sad that I have now become a major target for Cllr. Verdier to the extent that he will accuse me of being a participant of the civil war, which I know nothing about.”

Mayor Koijee said the attempt by Cllr. Verdier to have his character tainted as one of the perpetrators of the 14-year bloody civil crisis in the country indicates that he (Verdier) and his likes intend to undermine the TRC report.

“It pains me that people are bent on undermining the TRC report, because the nation and partners collectively invested huge money in this national instrument. We also put our all in the process to get the report to where it is, and as such, we will not sit idly by and see it get destroyed,” Koijee told journalists recently at a news conference in Monrovia.

Even though his boss, President George Weah has reneged on it, Koijee has since been in the advocacy for full implementation of the TRC Final Report and an establishment of a war crimes court to prosecute people who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity as a way of saving Liberia.

Koijee said that if citizens claim to truly love Liberia as true nationalist and patriot, they will stand above their personal interests and summon a great sense of accountability by welcoming a full implementation of the TRC report, instead of trying to bring the entire report into public disrepute.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Now THE ENTIRE NATION AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY know that that bastard Jerome Verdier is a liar and an irresponsible fool who accidentally headed the TRC.

      • ”Try to listen” TO WHAT? If you have comprehension problem, others do not have such problem. The Chairman of the defunct TRC who is the so called Executive Director of their so called International Justice Group (IJG) in his unwarranted DEFAMATORY ATTACKS ON AN INNOCENT MAN lied to the public, the US Congress in particular, and the international community in general.

        And then you have the temerity to tell others to ”Stop the name calling. Let’s discuss…”Listen first”.., And try to understand”?? Listen to and understand stupid and silly defense after this bastard Jerome Verdier has been caught with his pants down?

        Look, Ben Nmah, if you do not have anything to say, you better just sit down and just shut up! Don’t you know two of the former commissioners of the TRC(Massa Washington and John H.T. Stewart Jr.) who have exposed this criminal Jerome Verdier are also officials of the very IJG which spewed such defamation, smearing, and malicious libel for which the TRC has now taken its rightful place as a damn KANGAROO COMMISSION?

        • When thinkers become dogmatic they affirmed to fallacies and appeal to authoritative source as in the TRC report which may have its own shortcomings…no one can say for sure that a crime was not committed only because it was never documented, period. And to affirmed to the latter would be a deception by ignorance or by intent, period. As for me I reject complacency and will remain a critical thinker, period…

          • Wallace, the truth or the spirit of ”rejecting complacency” or being ”a critical thinker” is one being self questioning and or soul searching.

            In other words, Wallace, neither skeptics not critical thinkers contradict themselves, nor do they make meaningless insinuations as you have done here viz your vague comment which does not even qualify for any sensible sarcasm for or against the subject matter of the lack of integrity of Jerome Verdier ”undermining the TRC Report.”.,

            Finally take in this lecture ….

            ”When thinkers become dogmatic they affirmed”. WRONG AND POOR GRAMMAR.
            ”When thinkers become dogmatic they AFFIRM.” CORRECT GRAMMAR.

  2. It is not only the TRC Report which has been undermined by the disgraceful dishonesty and lack of integrity on the part of Jerome Verdier not surprisingly exposed! The reputation of this his so called International Justice Group (of which John H. T.Stewart and Massa Washington … two former commissioners are officials) is been rightfully injured and destroyed forever.

    This goes to show how fake ”these guys” are! They go about forming these fake NGOS to serve them in their immoral, dishonest, and criminal activities. Now Chris Smith knows better than the silly approach he took when Jerome Verdier and his FAKE NGO met him Smith.

    Another criminal minded and fake one is that Samuel Kofi Woods and his so called Law Society which could not come in defense of the poor 90 years old widow because according to him Kofi Woods, the convicted Kabineh Janeh is his friend.

  3. But the enormity of this disgrace of this former TRC Commisioner is unprecedented! On e just imagine a whole nation having had such an embarrassment, a disappointment, and a public and Private disgrace as this criminal (in the true sense of the word) as head of the TRC! This is beyond and worse than corruption. Is this the backside who wants people to believe that he is a justice seeker, when he goes about LYING SO PATHOLOGICALLY ON A YOUNG MAN?

  4. If I am not mistaken, one of the reasons the TRC was set up was to resolve conflict and not create more conflict after a bloody uncivil war had devastated our beloved country. Chief prosecutor (or maybe persecutor) Jerome Verdier, who was one of those charged with the responsibility of resolving the nasty uncivil war conflict has turned out to be a perpetrator of the very conflict he was supposed to resolve. Example, Jefferson Koijee, the mayor of Monrovia, was wrongly accused by Verdier. It wasn’t supposed to be like that; people weren’t supposed to be wrongly accused. The TRC was supposed to settle disputes. One wonders whether from the beginning, Verdier has had a personal grudge against Koijee. However, if that’s the case, Verdier should have recused himself from prosecuting Koijee. But he did not. Given this scenario, a few people who like Koijee were prosecuted by Verdier, may have been wrongly accused.

    Certainly, these are hard times for Liberia. A new can of worms has been open. What are Koijee’s options? It is a sure bet that Koijee and his core supporters will turn up the heat of revenge against Verdier. In other words, Koijee will likely go to court in order to have Verdier punished because of defamation of character.

    Did the TRC prosecutors “persecute or prosecute”?

  5. Hney, the TRC and its quasi prosecutors PERSECUTED AND PROSECUTED the majority of the accused who faced the TRC.

    This EXTREMELY DISGRACEFUL FRAUDULENT ACT on the part of Jerome Verdier proves that nearly all of the punitive recommendations by the TRC were PUNITIVE RECOMMENDATIONS MADE OUT OF MALICE, PREJUDICE, BIAS, DISCRIMINATION , GRUDGE, PARTIALITY, MALICE, AND MOCKERY OF JUSTICE!

    Jerome Verdier as Chairman of the TRC abused the powers of that position and fraudulently recommended punitive measures against many innocent people!

    And what proves this is the fact that if the Chairman of that Commission can fraudulently and maliciously accuse a then innocent child (the hitherto kid Koijee) one needs not wonder how he Jerome Verdier and his Commission were in nearly all of their punitive recommendations CRIMINALLY FRAUDULENT, UNPROFESSIONAL, AND MALICIOUSLY PARTIAL DRIVEN BY THE LIKES OF JEROME VERDIER’S SELFISH MALICIOUS PERSONAL VENDETTA!

  6. Who does not know that Koijee is an old small soldier? See his mentality and you know what went on during his childhood.

    The mayor is a REBEL. A fact that is as true as his wearing of gucci shoes nowadays.

  7. Zoedjallah my buddy,
    I agree with your assessment! No wonder why things aren’t going too well in Liberia.

    It bothers me. People complain about Weah is not doing this or that. But watch out. If some of those agitators are given the smallest opportunity to do something….. let’s say a job in the government, they’ll mess up big time.

    Here was a man entrusted with every support anyone could imagine. Instead of doing a good background check, Verdier persecuted people maybe because of personal reasons.

  8. Well, thankful that people stood to defend koijee publicly, but this was going to get bigger than just insulting Jerome or koijee. But what stands now is, koijee needs to know that he is stay a young man with future ahead and need to stop ordering people to be followed or wipe. It is considered an act of terror. And can be view as a crime that may go international. He can get arrested outside of his empire and his boss when all is said and knew that he goes free when people a torture by him secretly. The world is watching. What is the different from now and the war when people were victimized like koijee is doing for airing their view.
    It better u all talk to koijee to stand down cuz his name has gone very far than he can imagine for terrorism against his people.
    A hint to the wise is enough

  9. I stay stand by my disagreement with TRC report and mismanagement for which TRC was set up. Howver, the former chairman have every right in his capacity as an activist and a private citizen when deem it necessary to accuse the city mayor of Monrovia as one of those who took part in the war. It left with the mayor to exonerate his self or clarify to the international body that he did not. Lots of people hanging around in Liberia names were never mentioned during the TRC deliberation, hence, that doesn’t mean they never took part in the war. We know all of them Therefore, those co-host who distance themselves from Cll J vedier accuasation are the one who undermining the TRC report.
    The whole TRC report did not do any good for Liberian. The TRC mis its mandate of peace and reconciliation.

  10. According to reliable sources close to Jerome Verdier and his for personal daily sustenance IJG , he is in the behavior of clandestinely asking for and receiving money from donors in the name of the organization and placing same within his own personal accounts.

    And this is one of the main reasons (besides Jerome Verdier’s digraced libellous conduct underming the TRC and its Report) John Stewart and Massa Washington who are his deputies in that IJG decided to expose his now criminal behavior regarding his defamatory attack of lies against Jefferson Koijee.

  11. Comrade Freedom To Be Blunt,
    You’re an individual that I am proud of. Your mastery of the issues and the manner in which you express yourself is phenomenal. In many ways, you’re God-send. Don’t go away from this blog soon. I can’t pay you. However, if you leave, I will struggle to get you back buddy.

    Peace

  12. As someone who studied the TRC Report and its recommendations, after reading on Facebook Counselor Jerome Verdier’s threat against Mayor Kojee, I commented that his action speaks to “a self-serving gotcha mentality”. I disagree, however, that he undermined the integrity of a TRC Commission which completed its work and submitted a Report. Character will out no matter how cunningly concealed, Verdier’s number was simply up.

    Anyway, with report of this new development, two events in the past five years have made me proud to be a Liberian. First, farsightedness of EJS in recognizing that the CDC Coalition was the favorite of most Liberians. Second, integrity shown by the four former commissioners – H.T Stewart, Massa Washington, Dede Dopelie, and Counselor Pearl Brown-Bull – in disassociating themselves from new unknown allegations. Frankly, in a socio-political space of cronyism and partisanship, I was amazed that few had it in them to embrace inconvenient truths that embarrass those they care for.

    It makes me hopeful that with some fence-mending and cooperation, 2020 could be the Liberian decade. Like some African leaders have observed recently at various international gatherings, it’s the lack of internal concord in our countries that have made us panhandlers of geopolitical heavyweights that need our natural resources and get them cheaper when we’re cutting each other’s throats. Let’s stop recycling hate and poverty thus driving our people to places where host countries don’t want their presence.

  13. Comrade Hney, kindly accept my reciprocity of compliments in kind! Now, whether I Freedom To Be Blunt is here to stay as long as he lives? You can bet on that ”your man” is here to stay on this blog or site for the rest of his life! Ever leaving is absolutely out of the question!

  14. You’re one of the best. You’re truly God-send! I told one of my colleagues about you this morning.

    There are some respondents who wish not to discuss a particular subject that’s under discussion. They engage in name-calling and other forms of polemics. I don’t involve myself in that type of mud because I respect myself and others. On the other hand, I am not intimidated by anyone’s misbehavior. I can respond equally, but I prefer to choose the higher ground. To be above the fray is my upbringing. Take my word to the bank… you’re one of the best!

    Hang in there buddy!

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