The New Dawn Present to you verbatim the Exclusive Interview with Dr. Allan Whites by Mr. Henry Costa
Q: Dr. White, it’s our pleasure to have you sir! Dr. White: Hey good evening Henry, thank you for inviting me and to all of your listeners worldwide, I’m delighted to be here, thank you.HC: Sir we will like to open this interview by asking you to kindly to us the pleasure of introducing yourself fully so that people know exactly and intrinsically who Dr. Allan White is.
Dr. White: oh, thank you so much. Um I have been in the criminal justice field for far too long, going on far backwards. Um my last three years I was on loan from the US Department of Defense where I was a Federal Law Enforcement Executive to become the Chief for Investigation of the UN backed war crime tribunal Special Court for Sierra Leone. And I have never experienced International Justice at that level and I had never seen the horrible atrocities committed by mankind. And I made a commitment when I gat to Sierra Leone and I saw the victims, that I saw not only in Sierra Leone but also in Liberia that I will pursue justice to the very end.
Unfortunately, at the time my mandate was to work in Sierra Leone. However, shortly after the indictment occurred and Charles Taylor was forced into exile, I immediately went over with a team and we started conducting investigations throughout Liberia to gather evidence and other information pertinent to a trial. And although we were able to successfully pursue and prosecute Charles Taylor, our mandate didn’t extent itself to Liberia.
The reason why we were able to successfully prosecute Charles Taylor is number one he created the Revolutionary United Front, he aided and abided them for years as everyone knows.
So he was convicted because he had command responsibility. Unfortunately the people of Liberia were not able to obtain Justice at that time.
So I made a personally vow that I will be back and we will continue that quest for justice for Liberia and that quest continue today and we are making I think significant progress and with the peoples help, I honestly believe that this can be actualized and come to pass. HC: Thank you so much Dr. White. Dr. White let me ask you a question, you said with the people’s help. What exactly can and should the Liberian people do to show up your effort?
Dr. White: Well this is not just my effort, this is the quest of the Liberian people and a follow up to the TRC Act. If you remember, the TRC which was created in May of 2005 by the TRC Act, and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement require the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. And upon the completion of its work, all of the recommendations, all of them were to be enacted into law, period.
So that is the law. So this is something that is not just a quest of mine, it is the quest of the Liberian people they wanted justice, they sought justice. Now it’s up to the people to demand that the Government implement the requirement of the TRC, which includes the establishment of the war and economic crimes court. So it’s up to the people to demand their legislators to enforce the TRC Act and implement the recommendations. And I can get to that in a little bit about how the court should be set up. But in response your questions it’s up to the people to follow up on what they wanted and what they’re demanding.
Q: The distractors and the people who oppose for whatever reason the establishment of the war and economic crimes court often say, if we were to do such a thing now, it could very well plunged the country back into chaos. They want to cast that expression of cynicism and to sort scare people. Err, what do you say to such people, drawing from your Sierra Leone experience?
Dr. White: What I can say it that was the exactly what I heard from the people that oppose it in Sierra Leone. We were told repeatedly by those that were involved in the commission of war crimes that they will repeat and send the country back into civil war. But I can tell you that the rule of law is far more powerful than the barrier of the gun. And we heard that as soon as we started our work, that we were up in the country, it would return into civil conflict, civil war will erupt and nothing further from the truth has happened. There was a gentlemen there by the name of Chief HingaNoman, if you may remember him.
He was in charge of the Civil Defense Force and he had over 10,000 ‘Commandjors’; remember the ‘Commandjores’? The local fighters? Those were his, that’s a sizeable group of people, 10, 000 fighters, we were warned that if we pursue him, the will come after him and that they would plunge the country back into Civil War. He was also the Minister of Internal Security, which meant he had complete control over the entire security apparatus; the police the national intelligence agencies all of those that you will think if they supported him, they will be there when he was arrested. But I can tell you on March 10, 2003, when I launched operation Justice, and I arrested everybody, publically at that time, we arrested HingaNoman and within 55 minutes we had about 1 of the 13 suspects rounded up put on a helicopter and they were flown to Bawn Island. And when the people found out that HingaNomanwas arrested, they were dancing in the streets-and the rest is history.
Q: Where were his 10,000 men?
Dr. White: Nobody came, nobody came.
Q: Now sir, we’ve had push backs with politicians, successive administrations, when it comes to establishing the war and economic crimes court. Err today, if the Weah administration were to say to you and other actors who are pushing for this to happen, that they are prepare now to establish, to give their support for the establishment of the war and economic crimes court and to have the Liberian Senate, which by the way was recently condemned by the United States Government for what they did, which we will get into later, would you and international actors pushing for this to happen, would you be satisfied with a process led by George Weah? Will that pleased you sir?
Dr. White: Well, it’s not the question of pleasing me, but based on the last four or plus years, a demonstrated performance, it doesn’t appear that the government is serious about establishing this war crimes court. Despite the fact that the campaign that was run was based on establishing the war crimes court. And if you remember September 2019, when he appeared before the United Nations General Assembly for over 20 minutes of his speech, he asked the international community for their support to set up the war crimes court. And as soon as he returned to Liberia and was asked and questioned by the press about that he denied that he ever brought that up.
Look, here what I will say. This would be mine suggestions, the TRC Acts authorizes and requires that this be established. And it also requires the government not only to set it up but to seek international community and international support for the establishment of this tribunal. So I will use the Sierra Leone model, which is exactly in mine opinion what needs to be done in Liberia.
What President Kabbah did for Sierra Leone, and it took long and I understand that, but he did it. He sent a letter to UN Secretary General requesting the establishment and support for a war crimes court in Sierra Leone. He did not have the capacity and he did not have the funding. So the Secretary General in consult with the other member states agreed to support that. And they created an international hybrid.
And to avoid conflict of interest, mitigate corruption, it was agreed that this would be an international hybrid court, which mean it had international jurisdiction and it also had national jurisdiction. And will be staffed primarily by international to avoid any cohesion, to mitigate the risk of conflict of interest to make sure that it was done transparently. So that would be the model that I will suggest.
And I would suggest that President Weah immediately send a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations requesting that the court be established and request funding and other necessary support to include perhaps security.
What we had, we did have a United Nations Mission that were there but eventually, they left. But we still had our own security that was there established. So those are things that can be done to protect the court and to people that will put the court.
So that is the model. And thirdly because we all know Liberia went from number 20 to number five, as the 5th most corrupt country on the continent on Africa. So nobody in mine opinion from the government should be in charge of this. Somebody from civil society with a legal background that is highly regarded and highly respected in Liberia should be the point person for this to interact with the international community. And I think that would be the model that will be used.
The statue also needs to make sure that there is a treaty between the United Nations and Government of Liberia and also the authority of the single position of the court for the greater good of the Liberian people, should be appointed by the Secretary General, the prosecutor, the registrar and the majority member of the court on the trial chamber and also on the Appeal Court.
This will relieve the pressure from anybody inside the country from being suggest to cohesion threat, bribery, or any other concerns that can happen in covering the integrity of the court. So it can be done, but the president needs to start it, if he does not, the people. And I will encourage them to do this anyways because the Legislators are the ones that report and work for the people of Liberia.
It’s already being passed. The Legislative body could enact this immediately. All it has to be done and send to the President and at least a modification to this is the economic and war crimes court statute that I mentioned. But once those revisions are done, it could be sent to the president. If he does not like the court, then he vetoes it, then it comes back to the legislature and with the TRC Act the can override the president and then it can be implemented. But the Legislators both from the House and Senate need to hear from their people.
Q: Dr. White, a few days ago I announced a hotline service that is currently set up in Washington DC, run by some friends of Liberia called the Liberian US support group, and some distractors said that this is not legitimate. Can you confirm that hotline service soliciting tips on the alleged murdered of American Missionary Linda Jury by Prince Johnson and a tip on suspicious murder and public corruption under the Weah government, can you confirm that, that hotline service is indeed legitimate and real?
Dr. White: Well, what I know of is that it seen to be legitimate and we will encourage information to come in because in the end, all those gathered information will have to be vetted. But err there was some serious allegations that were made about Linda Jury, an American, and many people did not understand her that being an American she was an American living there in the 1990s and she was somebody that came from South Africa and elsewhere she was over there to provide civil society support during the war and she was allegedly executed for objecting some of the violence that were going on there. There has been some good information. And there has also been some good information about the assassination attempt that was made on me back in May of 2004. But I was alerted earlier when I was staying at the Mabam Point, the Mabam Point Hotel in May of 2004, I was contacted and said Doc.
You need to get out of there they immediately they are coming to kill you tonight. So I left and I was able to go to another location that was safe and secure. And fortunately there was a US Department of Defense that was led by a fellow Senior Executive his name is John Auffrey, so since I had vacated that room and that Hotel, they assigned him mine room. And unfortunately late in the night, there was allegation, not allegation because it actually happened. The individuals they dropped down thru the ceilings tides and stabbed him to death with an 18 inch bend knife. And I was contacted the next morning because I was still in country but at another location and they sought to find out whether I was okay. And they were glad to hear that I was okay and I asked why?
They said the room that you were staying in that you vacated last night, there was another American who was staying in that room and he was stabbed to death and that was John Auffrey. And unfortunately at that time Gyude Bryant was the Chairman, he did not like our efforts at all over there. And from what I gathered the investigation was swept under the carpet and turned into a robbery burglary that had gone bad. Now this hotline has developed a new information of people in the current administration that were involved in this assassination attempt and killing.
Q: Excuse me sir, did you say, this hotline service, is from announcing the numbers, you’ve received tips on the assassination attempt against you against you which unfortunately claimed the life of Col John Auffrey, did you say that. You also say you received tips pointing fingers at current George Weah administration officials for being involve in an attempt to assassinate you?
Dr. White: That’s the information that was being convey to me.
Q: Now sir one of the things on the hotline service, it talks about tips on corruption under the current administration and suspicious killings, what are the information collected and to vetted and substantiated, would that information be used to bring to book the current perpetrators under the Weah administration, should we expect that sir?
Dr. White: It depends on what the allegations are and if there are proof. But if they are they can certainly be used for sanction purposes and those types of things. It doesn’t matter where the information comes from. It doesn’t have to all be resided in Liberia or all resided here. But if you have good actionable intelligent from an information that is vetted, and can be proven, that will be very, very viable for policy and decision makers back here in United States why they deal with Liberia. Would it result into criminal prosecution, global menisci or sanction-To be continued