“Justice, And Only Justice, You Shall Follow, That You May Live And Inherit The Land That The Lord Your God Is Giving You.”

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In a short while from now, President George Weah will be traveling to New York, USA, to attend the United Nations General Assembly. He is also expected to address the Assembly in his debut appearance before that world body. As is expected, President Weah will be making a pitch for international support to Liberia’s development agenda. He is also expected to hold high level discussions with various world leaders on current and unfolding developments, political and economic, in Liberia.

In doing so he will also be expected to speak to growing concerns about impunity in Liberia and the urgent need to address issues surrounding the implementation of recommendations of the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report submitted to the Legislature and Government of Liberia in 2009. The TRC Report contains a wide range of recommendations key amongst which are recommendations for criminal accountability and lustration as well as for memorialization and reparations for victims of the conflict.

According to reports, there is growing support internationally and locally for criminal accountability for perpetrators of gross Human Rights abuse during the period of conflict in Liberia. But prior to his departure for the UN General Assembly, President Weah has already dropped hints that his government is indisposed to the establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Court for Liberia to prosecute perhaps those bearing the greatest responsibility for the commission of such crimes.

President Weah has placed himself on record expressing his opposition to the establishment of such a Court on grounds that Liberians are too interconnected and the country stands to run the risk of renewed conflict if the court is established. His Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor is also on record, having declared that Liberia has more pressing development needs which outpace concerns for the establishment of a War Crimes Court.

Some supporters of the President have even argued that because President Sirleaf failed to take such a step in over a decade at the helm of power, there is no reason why President Weah should now pick up the tab. That former President Sirleaf failed to pursue accountability for past human rights abuses is an established fact. That she also played a founding and key role in the formation of the NPFL and contributed handsomely to its war efforts is also a fact, although she has since claimed that her support was intended for humanitarian use and purposes.

Her non pursuit of accountability for perpetrators of War and Economic crimes and the reluctance of the international community to pressurize her into doing so may have probably been influenced by the fact that the country, Liberia, was still then in the throes of a prolonged bitter, bloody and senseless conflict. Restoring peace, law and order and economic viability was then seen as the priority. For a country having sunk in the morass of debilitating debt, crippled by broken infrastructure, weak rule of law and ingrained corruption, President Sirleaf’s displayed preoccupation with the restoration of economic viability caught the attention of the international community.

With the backing of a 15,000 well armed Peacekeeping Force, she conveniently shelved the TRC Report and received no lashes for such. Mrs. Sirleaf has, however, left the stage and it is now President Weah’s challenge to answer the call for accountability. Unlike President Sirleaf who by and large virtually ignored the TRC Report without consequence, President Weah has no such luxury of options and neither does he and his government enjoy the favorable disposition of the kind President Sirleaf coddled from the international community despite the runaway corruption that characterized her reign and her non pursuit of accountability for past human rights abuse.

President Weah’s pronouncements, as well as those of top officials of his government denigrating calls for accountability at a time when there are increasing calls, both locally and internationally, for criminal accountability for perpetrators of human rights abuse is a non-starter for any world leader making a debut appearance before the world body.

This newspaper, the Daily Observer, drawing from a wellspring of past experience, stands convinced that President Weah would prove his detractors right should he follow the chameleonic posturing of Speaker Bhofal Chambers, a once fierce proponent of criminal accountability for perpetrators of human rights abuse, who has now made a complete 360 degree turn with his call for reconciliation without Justice.

President Weah should perhaps be informed that the currently hostile disposition and posture of his government to concerns for accountability will only serve to undermine his ability to command; from the international community, the kind of support his government needs in order to succeed. He may not be aware and probably has not been told of the implications of not meeting certain human rights benchmarks which includes accountability for past abuses.

It is the firm opinion of this newspaper that those who argue and who insist that reconciliation without justice is the way to go have provided no assurances and guarantees of non-repetition of the kinds of human rights abuse witnessed in this country by individuals, many of who are now parading the corridors of power and lording over their victims. This nation will not bow to the threats of individuals especially those in high places who are threatening a return to war and mayhem simply because victims of their atrocities are demanding justice.

It is now high time that the hushed voices of those innocent souls whose lives were cruelly taken away by callous and murderous individuals, be heard loudly enough to resonate throughout the length and breadth of this nation. This newspaper recalls that President George Weah had previously served as Peace Ambassador in charge of national reconciliation but his failure to accomplish anything significant was widely attributed by his supporters, to the lack of adequate support from former President Sirleaf.

President Weah had even publicly made a case for criminal accountability. Now, having ascended to the Presidency he maintains that Liberians are too closely interconnected and touching one will touch all. But the Daily Observer is constrained to ask whether such considerations did make any difference at all as Liberians from walks of life were tortured, forcibly displaced, starved, and shot and killed at the slightest pretext by blood thirsty individuals.

If our so-called inter-connectedness which should have spared so many the executioner’s bullet made little or no difference then, why should accountability for their actions now trigger a return to violence and conflict? We, Liberians shall not be intimidated by threats of violence by vile men and women.

Our faith in the great God of Justice remains unshakeable, remaining ever mindful of the words of the Prophet in Deuteronomy 16:20:

“Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

Authors

6 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. Editor your claim that “Unlike President Sirleaf who by and large virtually ignored the TRC Report without consequence, President Weah cannot similarly ignore the TRC Reoport without consequence”, IS INACCURATE AND FALSE.

    Any sovereign nation can, for compelling national interests, and national security reasons, ignore and even trash such Report without any consequence.

    And this is why many African and even Arab countries (eg. Kenya, Burundi, Syria, etc. etc) are even giving the International Criminal Court the boot.

    You political activists and fixers of THE ELITE camouflaged as journalists, should desist from using this “crocodile cry” for accountability as a ploy to reverse the the democratic choice of THE MASSES!

    Just as “Restoring peace, law and order and economic viability was then seen as the priority” during the administration of your Unity Party Government few months ago, so too is Restoring peace, law and order and economic viability” A COMPELLING NATIONAL INTEREST AND NATIONAL SECURITY CONCERN with the CDC government.

    • Then why did you kept crying for accountability, in essence, you were only deceiving others, and now that you are in the driving seat you are now changing colors? We told others about your lacked of the will to deliver anything, but they thought otherwise, there you are building palaces for yourselves and your foot soldiers continued to cry for bread to eat. So what makes you different?

      • Gbada J. Flomo, I am not in any driving seat; nor am I in government. I am simply a patriot. Now you can see “what makes me different”.

  2. “Though justice be thy plea, consider this—
    That in the course of justice none of us
    Should see salvation…”

    That is a brief quote from defense lawyer Portia’s reply to Shylock who seeks “justice”, a pound of flesh cut from any part of the defendant’s body according to their contract for monetary debt, in Shakespeare’s Play “Merchant of Venice”. Not to mention that my mother – a casualty that refused to leave Liberia because during a previous conflict decades earlier my grandfather ran away with her to Freetown – wouldn’t consider an idea that might endanger the lives of her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and thousands of others “justice” under any condition. Knowing my mother, for her justice would be President Weah reducing widespread poverty, and promoting jaw-jawing in palava huts towards bridging the various divides which are roadblocks on the path of reconciliation, development, and lasting peace. Of course, genuine concerns exist for holding the worst unapologetic perpeptrators accountable in court as a deterrence. But that isn’t a pragmatic idea after the ashes of war got cold in a state where Security Sector Principals say pervasive poverty poses the greatest threat to stability, and one UN Security Council Report declared is “fragile, fractious, and factious”. President Abraham Lincoln and the victorious North, for instance, could’ve exacted “justice” on General Robert Lee and the rebellious Southern Confederacy which provoked a Civil War that resulted in the death of 650,000 Americans.

    They didn’t. Instead, keeping the Union intact, meaning the various states united took precedence over emotionalism. That purpose became so etched on the American consciousness and psychic that various US governments turned blind eyes while monuments were built idealizing rebels and war criminals, including naming theaters after actor John Booth, the assassin of Abraham Lincoln. Yet I hear an American Dr. Alan White, supposedly with ties to the intelligence community in the US, is one of the foreigners fighting for a war crime court in Liberia.

    Seemingly, some of us Africans are so silly that few greedy White racists keep on applying the same old divide and rule tactic, which they used between the 16th and 19th century to empty the continent of all able-bodied persons. From Southern Africa to Western Africa we are still at war with the same guns they divided among our people before the Transatlantic Slave Trade while they rob natural resources through all types of gimmicks. No wonder President Trump correctly described our states as “shithole countries”: We are nothing but brain dead braggadocios!

  3. “Though justice be thy plea, consider this—
    That in the course of justice none of us
    Should see salvation…

    That is a brief quote from defense lawyer Portia’s reply to Shylock who seeks “justice”, a pound of flesh cut from any part of the defendant’s body according to their contract for monetary debt, in Shakespeare’s Play “Merchant of Venice”. Not to mention that my mother – a casualty that refused to leave Liberia because during a previous conflict decades earlier my gradfather ran away with her to Freetown – wouldn’t consider an idea that might endanger the lives of her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and thousands of others “justice” under any condition. Knowing my mother, for her justice would be President Weah reducing widespread poverty, and promoting jaw-jawing in palava huts towards bridging the various divides which are roadblocks on the path of reconciliation, development, and lasting peace.

    Of course, genuine concerns exist for holding the worst unapologetic perpeptrators accountable in court as a deterrence. But that isn’t a pragmatic idea after the ashes of war got cold in a state where Security Sector Principals say pervasive poverty poses the greatest threat to stability, and one UN Security Council Report declared is “fragile, fractious, and factious”. President Abraham Lincoln and the victorious North, for instance, could’ve exacted “justice” on General Robert Lee and the rebellious Southern Confederacy which provoked a Civil War that resulted in the death of 650,000 Americans.

    They didn’t. Instead, keeping the Union intact, meaning the various states united took precedence over emotionalism. That purpose became so etched on the American consciouness and psychic that various US governments turned blind eyes while monuments were built idealizing rebels and war criminals, including naming thearters after actor Booth, the assassin of Abraham Lincoln. Yet I hear an American Dr. Alan White, supposedly with ties to the intelligence community in the US, is one of the foreigners fighting for a war crime court in Liberia.

    Seemingly, some of us Africans are so braindead that few greedy White racists keep on applying the same old divide and rule tactic which they used between the 16th and 19th century to empty the continent of all abled persons. From Southern Africa to West Africa we are still at war with the same guns they divided among our people before the Transatlantic Slave Trade while they rob them of natural resources through all types of gimmicks. No wonder President Trump correctly described our states as “shithole countries”: We are nothing but braindead braggadocios!

    • My brother, you have spoken well. I wish we were wise and could understand. The whole ideology of pursuing criminal accountability against the so called perpetrators who have committed war crime against humanity, is another ingenious move by our enemies to throw us on a wild goose chase. I am saying so-called perpetrators because the criminals we are looking to prosecute are people who were psychologically manipulated to be used only as an instrument, a political stool pigeon, a scapegoat, and a face so the real perpetrators can go free. Now, I make no excuse for anyone and I believe every man is responsible for their own action and should be prepared to face the consequences that follows. But I also do believe that if we are going to speak about the issue, we must speak about it in its totality. With that being said, with little research, you will find out that the same entities or agents who are facilitating the establishment of a special court system to bring up charges against the so-called perpetrators who have committed crimes against humanity, are the real perpetrators . Isn’t that an irony.

      I dont think it’s a bad idea to have a special court in our nation to bring up charges against criminals who are believed to have committed crimes against humanity in the nation. I have said this on many occasions, if we are going to do this, we must do it with no western influence. And that means your UN, Work Bank, IMF, America etc… cannot have anything to do with it because they are as guilty as the criminals we are looking to prosecute when we speak about crimes against humanity.
      But as the brother stated, this is not the time for us to undertake such development. There are more pressing/immediate issues to tackle like stabilizing the nation’s economy, improving the education system, jobs creation etc…
      In conclusion, we really need to stop being gullible and a sucker falling for anyone that throws us a bone.

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