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Crime & PunishmentGeneralLiberia news

How right groups pay Witnesses to lie

Geneva-based Civitas Maxima exposed

One of the many groups advocating for the establishment of war and economic crimes court in Liberia, Geneva-based Civitas Maxima, has been linked to coaching witnesses to give false testimony in exchange for money.

The influential U.S.-based Washington Examiner details Civitas Maxima’s involvement in a war crimes prosecution-for-profit scheme that has claimed lives.

“One of the group’s landmark trials collapsed two months ago when the defense was able to alibi the accused as not being in Liberia when coached witnesses said they saw him conduct rapes, murders, and other heinous crimes”, writes the Examiner.

The paper specifically refers to ex-Sierra Leonean rebel leader Gibril Massaquoi, who Civitas Maxima’s witnesses falsely testified that he came to Liberia and committed rape and other heinous crimes that turned out to be unfounded, as dates and times cited could not be corroborated by court investigators.

“Falsified Civitas Maxima evidence was behind an Interpol arrest of an American citizen accused of slavery”, the report further notes.

The U.S. citizen in question reportedly committed suicide in prison.

The paper continues that many others convicted of war crimes in West Africa may now use Civitas Maxima’s corruption to cast doubt on their own convictions, even if Civitas had no involvement in their cases.

However, it notes that while Civitas Maxima may be among the most egregious examples of human rights fraud, many upstart NGOs in Afghanistan and Iraq bilked the USAID and U.N. systems for tremendous profit, with founders and senior staff raking in millions and building palatial villas to signal their impunity.

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Recently, Liberia’s Hassan Bility Global Justice Research Project and Mrs. Agnes Reeves Taylor have been in a war of words over claims of damages to her person.

Madam Taylor recently filed a lawsuit before the Civil Law Court in Monrovia for damages against Bility’s Global Justice Research Project and the Geneva-based Civitas Maxima, praying the court for US$ 1 million for their alleged false testimonies which led the British Government to prosecute her for alleged torture charges, but the said charges were subsequently dropped by the Central British Court.

the Metropolitan Police Service in June 2017, arrested Madam Agnes Taylor, ex-wife of jailed former Liberian President Charles Ghankay Taylor, and charged her with torture for her alleged involvement with atrocities committed during Mr. Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) rebels’ invasion of Liberia.

She was charged with seven counts of torture and one count of conspiracy to commit torture in relation to her involvement with the NPFL.

Notwithstanding, the Washington Examiner says there are still good, earnest activists who approach their work with subjectivity and political blinders, but growing corruption suffocates them and blunts their impact.

It notes that the human rights field has become home to agenda-driven activists who fix outcomes amenable to their own personal biases or profit, like the incident involving Geneva-based Civitas Maxima and the Global Justice Research Project in Liberia. Report compiled by Jonathan Browne

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