In a recent article (Analyst Liberia, September 20, 2019), Lawyer Abraham T. T. Barlou Mitchel declares that:
A. “Certain politicians are, today, holding President Weah obligatory for implementing the TRC recommendations . . . as if he was the one responsible for the crimes committed . . .” but, “it is the current so-called ‘leading opposition’ in Liberia that grabbed the TRC Report as an opposition agenda, including the very Unity Party of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Vice President Joseph N. Boakai”;
B. “Folks must stop the TRC hypocrisy and wrongful blame-shifting. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the principal architect of the Liberia Civil War and one of he accused by the TRC Report, was coincidentally the sitting as first post-war constitutional president of Liberia when the TRC Report was promulgated. Those in opposition today were part of the ruling elite at the time”;
C. The call for “War and Economic Crimes Court (was) a Conspiracy (against) against President George Manneh Weah (who) has now become the scapegoat and therefore all those involved in the power struggle in Liberia have ganged-up against the Weah Administration using the TRC as the opposition agenda . . . precondition for support grossly in bad faith and smells with conspiracy”;
D. “We don’t need to establish special war and economic crimes court in Liberia or elsewhere to punish people accused for having committed war and economic crimes during the Liberian civil war. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is sitting in The Hague and provides adequate venue and jurisdictional scope to address the war crime issues in Liberia . . . In other words, the Weah Administration does not have to establish war crimes court in Liberia before the ICC can act . . . On the other hand, Liberia’s current judicial system does have jurisdictions to deal with any and all aspects of economic crimes”.
E. And finally that “The centerpiece (of the opposition conspiracy) is to use President Weah as the Police man to arrest Prince Johnson and have him turned over to the war crimes court – that begins the push factor for renewed conflict in Liberia. Remember Prince Johnson was used to capture Doe. The aftermath of this tragedy has become the source of the incurable conflicts between the Nimbaians and the Grand Gedeans in Liberia as well as the Diaspora; the old colonial strategy of divide, conquer and rule must not further be allowed in post-conflict Liberia – putting ethnic Liberians against each other to create space for the political resuscitation of the pre-1980 immigrant political class in their desperate bid to recapture political power”.
As to items A, B & C, it is a necessity, indeed mandatory, to remind Lawyer Mitchell, the apparent legal/political counsel to young President Weah, the Liberian people and our readers, that the Republic of Liberia has been, and is, engaged in lawful multi-Party, pluralistic, competitive, democratic electoral political system under the rule of law, since the April, 1980 Event. As such political parties, a group of citizens of like minds and political ideology representing a segment of the Liberian Nation, are engaged in friendly, lawful competition for political power with criticism of each other. The parties in opposition, therefore, hold the ruling party and government responsible with obligation to abide by constitutional prescriptions and all other such laws made and provided.
Now, any government of an organized political community that experienced mind-boggling criminal activities of brutalities, destruction, human suffering and death, had been, and has, the legal responsibility/obligation to institute and institution of comprehensive legal house-cleaning by arrest, prosecution of all suspects and punishment of the guilty, throughout human history, since the institution of the Social State.
Therefore, the Liberian political community which suffered such brutal, criminal activities adopted the South African, relatively successful example of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) during the All-Liberia Peace Conference and, also, adopted the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) upon which the TRC was introduced into Liberian Law in the effort to institute the required legal house-cleaning for post-conflict transition to modern democratic administration. But the TRC recommendations were side-lined for obvious reasons that the-then President of Liberia was the architect of the civil war conflict and the overwhelming majority of her law enforcement officials – police, security, military, paramilitary, prosecutors, judges, etc. – were the major human rights violators of the civil war conflict; therefore, national/international expectations shifted to the incoming government.
But young politician George Weah, then Standard Bearer of CDC Political Party and candidate for President of Liberia, not only announced publicly that “there will be no war crime court in Liberia”, apparently, during his administration, a policy commitment to the on-going impunity, but also, selected the Standard Bearer of the NPP, the notorious rebel Party, massive human rights violator and killer of an estimated quarter of a million Liberians, as vice presidential running mate, Mrs. Jewel Howard-Taylor, estrange wife of the founder-leader of the NPP and leader of the civil war insurgents, former President Charles Taylor now serving a 50-year prison term for crimes against humanity, while the Chairman of the CDC , of which young George Weah is Leader and President of Liberia, announced publicly that “we will not shy away from Taylor”.
Moreover, President Weah’s close Political Alliance with Prince Yormie Johnson (PYJ), now Nimba County Senior Senator, former Field Marshall/General and Commander of the rebel INPFL, performed the most major summary executions without trial, committed the most gruesome, brutal human rights violations of the civil war, tortured, mutilated by cutting off ears and private body parts while alive and, eventually, murdered Samuel K. Doe as President of Liberia on live video.
These gruesome acts raised eye-brows and concerns not only of Liberians who suffered the brutal civil war killing shenanigans by the Field Marshall turned-senator politician, but also, the concerns of the sub-regional (ECOWAS) and the general African leadership, including world leaders. In the of these available factual, historic activities to which the ruling party and government are connected and others committed directly, offered excellent opportunities for the competitive opposition political parties to maximize lawful criticism of their competitor, the same ruling party and government, NOT CONSPIRACY THEORIES, WHICH ARE SPECULATIONS IN THE ABSENCE OF CONCRETE EVIDENCE OF JUICY, PUBIC/PRIVATE WRONG-DOING.
As to Item D, we admit that the International Criminal Court (ICC) . . . sitting in The Hague provides adequate venue and jurisdictional scope to address the war crime issues . . .” But the Court is designed to complement existing national judicial systems and may, therefore, only exercise jurisdiction where and when the United Nations Security Council or individual member-states refer cases to the Court, also, where and when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute suspects, as is the case now prevailing in Liberia.
We admit, also, and agree that “the Weah Administration does not have to establish war crimes court in Liberia”, but the the Rome Statute, the governing rules for operations of he ICC, requires the United Nations Security Council or individual member-states must refer cases to the Court before it can act, because the Court designed and established by the United Nations, of which Liberia is active founding member, to complement existing national judicial systems and may therefore, exercise jurisdiction, also, only where and when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute suspects, as is the case now prevailing in Liberia, where the ruling political class has failed/refused to prosecute suspected war and economic criminals.
We admit further that “Liberia’s current judicial system does have jurisdictions to deal with any and all aspects of economic crimes”, but the body of validated, available evidence shows that the entire Liberian Judicial process or national System – Justices of the Supreme Court, Judges of the lower courts, court officials, trial juries, prosecuting and defense attorneys, the Liberia National Bar Association – is infested with massive dishonesty and corruption. A sitting Justice of the Supreme Court, for example, was impeached recently by the Senate for acts of corruption.
And finally, importantly as to Item E, Lawyer-writer Mitchell raised some fundamental issues and questions with implied answers but without explicit treatment with relevant evidence. gi are that “Prince Johnson was used to capture Doe”; who are the users and reasons? “The old colonial strategy of divide, conquer and rule”; who are the colonial strategists? “Create space for the political resuscitation of the pre-1980 immigrant political class . . . desperate . . . to recapture political power”; who is or are the pre-1980, immigrant political class?
Significantly, these statements imply belief in and the old, outdated Americo/Congo Liberian versus Indigenous Country Liberian Divide, a concept which does not sit well with educated under age 30 Liberians now the majority of nation’s population that speaks no dialect nor interested in returning to Rural Liberia, home of their parents and older, 21st century pro-democracy Liberian.
Incidentally, Lawyer-writer Mitchell advocates “Fixing the national economy, not war crimes court” by printing additional 34 Billion Liberian banknotes and digging
new holes to cover old holes, according to Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe’s new Theory of Macroeconomic Analysis.