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Cllr. Verdier vows to protect Ex- RUF fighter

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-condemns Hassan Bility

Cllr Jerome J. Verdier, Executive Director of International Justice Group (IJG) says the group will spare no efforts in defending the protected status of Mr. Gibril Massaquoi, a former rebel fighter and patriotic citizen of the Republic of Sierra Leone against efforts to prosecute the accused over claim of committing atrocities in Liberia.

Cllr. Verdier who chaired Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) contends that Massaquoi did not fight war in Liberia, had no reason to fight war in Liberia and committed no atrocities in Liberia as alleged by his tormentors in the Finland Jurisdiction.

The IJG in a statement released over the weekend said effort to prosecute Gibril Massaquoi, ex – RUF rebel commander from Sierra Leone based on a crescendo of lies and unfounded allegations of war crimes committed in Liberia as falsely claimed by Hassan Bility and cohorts in Switzerland.

He terms this as a serious distraction from the quests of all Liberians seeking justice for victims of the war through the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia.

Cllr. Verdier cautions that witness protection is important to any successful war crimes prosecution because the protected witness is an insider who gives detailed inside and reliable information that the prosecution would not have otherwise acquired without the cooperation of the protected witness.

He argues that Gibril Massaquoi is a protected witness under the Witness Protection Program of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) which successfully prosecuted former Liberia Former President Charles Taylor on War Crimes and related serious charges to protect human rights, save lives, guarantee justice, and restore peace to the entire West African subregion and Africa as a whole.

“To falsely accuse such a witness, to recruit and bribe paid agents to produce false testimonies against such a witness who committed no crimes in Liberia for pecuniary benefits on the backs of Liberian victims who are still yearning for justice is the worst thing anyone can do and doing so in the name of advocating for justice is worse than the war crimes we have put our lives on the line to prosecute,” says Cllr. Verdier.

Verdier emphasizes that such an immoral stance sets a bad precedence for justice in Liberia and seeks to undermine the witness protection program for Liberia, ahead of the establishment of the War & Economic Crimes Court for Liberia.

The International Justice Group has sharply criticized and condemned War Crimes Court advocate Hassan Bility and all those in the corridors of justice advocacy, especially advocacy for the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court for Liberia (W&ECC).

The IJG condemned those it says are using the War Crimes Court advocacy platform for personal, selfish, and political gains.

“There is nothing more dangerous and criminal like the commission of war crimes itself, than profiteering on the backs of the victims of war crimes in Liberia,” Cllr Verdier says.

According to him, without justice, Liberia will never be peaceful again and the establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia is the way to go.

The group notes that the statement released out of the US Capitol in Washington, DC described the ongoing effort to prosecute Gibril Massaquoi, ex – RUF rebel commander from Sierra Leone based on lies by Hassan Bility and cohorts.

Additionally, the statement condemns all of those in and out of the Government of Liberia (GOL) who it said are maneuvering and manipulating behind the scenes and working with these profiteers and some international actors to stage manage war crimes court advocacy in Liberia by a process that will remotely establish a court outside of Liberia to deny Liberians of true justice.

The IJG’s position, the statement said, remains firm and settled for the establishment of the War Crimes Court for Liberian victims in Liberia and not in Finland.

It calls for the establishment of the court consistent with the Recommendations of the TRC of Liberia and the Resolution of the United States Congress (HR 1055) sponsored by Congressman Chris Smith and as recently buttressed by the Deputy Speaker of the Liberian House of Representative Cllr J. Fonati Koffa as the surest guarantee that those innocently accused will be set free and the guilty once will face justice and suffer punishment.–Press release

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