By Lincoln G. Peters
Cllr. Jerome Verdier, Executive Director of International Justice has described the Global Justice Research Project (GJRP), Civitas Maxima (CM) and the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) as bounty hunters, masquerades, fortune hunters and mercenaries who are disgrace to the body of justice advocacy against war crime.
In his letter to United Stated Ambassador-at-large for Global Criminal Justice, Beth Van Schaack, the former chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC) of Liberia, also accused the organizations of undermining the advocacy for the prosecution of war criminals in Liberia, alleging that they have turned up to be fortune hunters in the advocacy.
“We further believe, Madam Ambassador that the pursuit of justice is a noble calling of true advocates with a public interest objective which does not accrue to them the benefits of bounty hunters, masquerades, fortune hunters and mercenaries as some actors in the justice advocacy spheres have turned up to be.
They represent falsehoods, undermine the genuine pursuit of justice, make mockery of this noble pursuit and are nothing beyond a disgrace to the body of justice advocacy’’ he noted.
The Global Justice Research Project (GJRP) is headed by Mr. Hassan Bility, while Mr. Alain Warner is the Executive of Civitas Maxima (CM).
The former TRC Chair had written Amb. Schaack on the war and economic crimes court for Liberia, while complaining Bility and Warner as individuals who alleged questionable roles are cause for concern in the human rights and justice communities and caution the ambassador to desist from doing business with them.
Cllr. Verdier believes that an association with institutions that lacks integrity in the fight for global justice undermines the role Amb. Schaacks have played in the fight for global justice.
According to him, CJA, GJRP, and CM have been variously involved with perjury, witness coaching and fabricating evidence against accused persons and potential candidate for war crime prosecution.
“The conduct of these organizations explicitly sought to undermine the criminal justice systems and the rule of law in several jurisdictions of western countries, including the United States, upholding the vaunted principals that fair and just prosecution should always remain the lofty and inviolable standard of the criminal justice system’’ he stated.
Cllr. Verdier named Gibril Massaquoi brazenly acquittal in the Finnish Court as the most recent case being where those institutions fabricated evidence.
“We believe, Madam Amb, that your involvement with this process at such high level and the pedigree of your involvement with these organizations listed above present a clear situation of conflict of interest which warrants your recusal, Madam Amb’’ he disclosed.
Cllr. Verdier further indicated the conducts mentioned above violate and run counter to the tenets of natural and substantial justice, which seek to not just convict or imprison, but to establish the truth and seek conviction through the presentation of credible evidence during an impartial trial before an open court of competent jurisdiction, thereby guaranteeing that justice, free and fair is done.
At the same time, Cllr. Verdier expressed compliments and congratulated the Ambassador for the notable preferment to this noble office of Ambassador-at-large for Global Criminal Justice and do extend.
He also extolled and extends a great appreciation to the government of the United States for injecting new momentum into the quest for justice for the Liberian people.
“We remain committed partners for justice in Liberia and hasten to note that the United States government has been outstanding in its support dating back to rallying international support for the TRC process, the resolution of the US Congress (HR-1055) calling for the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes’’ he concluded.