Saah Gbolie challenges TRC report

As debate for the establishment of War and Economic Crimes Court for Liberia intensifies, former rebel commander Saah Gbolie says final report from Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was manipulated politically, and should not be the basis on which perpetrators of heinous crimes committed during the country’s 14 years of carnage are prosecuted.

Mr. Gbolie, also a former lawmaker for Margibi County district#1, says he would rather prefer an independent investigation that will establish and truthfully document all roles played by every actor of the crisis, arguing that this will help bring about deserving punishments, based on the gravity of the crime(s) of every participant in the war.

“There is no need to waste the people’s moneys on TRC report to prosecute those associated or indicted, because the report is political, fake and hoax. We need an independent investigation in order to prosecute people,” Mr. Gbolie, who served as military police commander for ex-president Charles Taylor’s NPFL rebels further argues.

He cites as an example in the TRC Final Report, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was banned for contesting for public office for 30 years, but she contested anyway in the 2011 elections.President Sirleaf was already a sitting President when the final report and recommendations were released.

He says as Head of State then, Madam Sirleaf should have been the one implementing the report, which indicates that the report was “political.”Speaking in Monrovia over the weekend, Gbolie continues that people just said what were on their minds without further investigation.

“Former president Sirleaf indicated that she provided US$10,000 and was taken into consideration without any verification,” he notes.Madam Sirleaf, who testified before the TRC, while still in power, confirmed that she gave US$10,000 to Mr. Taylor’s NPFL rebels for humanitarian purpose.

Gbolie spoke recently in Paynesville, in response to Montserrado District #4 Representative, Rustonlyn Suacoco Dennis who, he alleges, accused him of killing people in containers during the civil crisis. He has promised to take legal action against Rep. Dennis.

According to him, he welcomes any general punishment that will satisfy the Liberian people, but does not support an economic or war crimes court based on the TRC report.Gbolie claims Rep. Dennis indicated that while he was serving as Military Police commander in the NPFL in Gbarnga, Bong County, she had the opportunity to feed some of the inmates that were under his custody.

But he challenges Ms. Dennis to prove that under his watch people disappeared and were being killed in containers in huge numbers.“For anyone to insinuate that under my leadership people were killed in huge numbers and dumped, it’s unfortunate. When someone chooses to attack us, we will not give the person a free ride,” Mr. Gbolie maintains.

According to him, Rep. Dennis’ statement is intended to make those who participated in civil war to look bad before their family members, business partners and the world at large.He says while serving as military police commander in Gbarnga, he ensured that the people of Bong County lived in peace and safety.

-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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