Open Letter to Pres. Weah: Liberia Needs Restorative Justice

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Mr. President:

I have the honor to greet you in the mighty Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and to present you my observations and recommendations regarding Peace and Reconciliation in our great nation under your leadership.

Sir, I and masses of my fellow Liberians are impressed and enthused by your meeting with the Judge of the International Criminal Court, Honorable Eboe-Osuji  on June 28, 2019 and your historical declaration to the Judge with respect to your intention to employ the PALAVA HUT (Restorative Justice) method of conflict resolution to bring peace and reconciliation among your people in Liberia.

Our memory is refreshed that you were the backbone to the relative peace that the Ellen Sirleaf administration enjoyed especially regarding little or no tension from the restless youth of our nation throughout that period. She admitted to friends that during her administration, she appointed you as chairman on reconciliation and you single-handedly kept the youth under control to the benefit of her administration. Let us not forget your service as Peace Ambassador with the United Nations during the Taylor and Sirleaf eras.  We are convinced that if you were the fulcrum of peace for other presidential administrations, you can do it for your own administration.

Your Excellency, regarding your determination to reconcile our nation and people as you elucidated to Judge Eboe-Osuji   of the International Criminal Court and in furtherance of said determination, permit me to make the following recommendations:

  1. That you, in consultation with the Legislature, constitute a new Reconciliation Commission with a mandate to focus on the PALAVA HUT process of conflict resolution as you have envisioned, using the former Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report as a foundation.
  • That you appeal to the International Community including the United Nations, African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, the United States of America and the European Union   to assist your administration with resources to accomplish this mission.
  • Call upon the comity of Nations of which Liberia is a member  to defer to the Republic of Liberia regarding the prosecution of Liberian citizens with respect to crimes supposedly committed in connection with the Liberian conflicts including several civil wars between 1978-2003. Such request should indicate that in addition to  the fact that the  Republic of Liberia as a nation has its own body of laws that are consistent with international laws and norms, the people of Liberia chose to employed the Truth and Reconciliation method to resolve the problems associated with their nation’s protracted conflicts as mentioned above.   Let them know that Liberians are covered by the Truth and Reconciliation Process which has taken place in their country, and therefore should not be prosecuted abroad for the same allegations simply under the legal theory of Universal Jurisdiction. 
  • Sir, you may want to remind the International Community that your method of finally resolving the Liberian conflict is grounded in their own resolutions regarding the Liberian conflicts. For instance, the Cotonou Agreement of July 1993, which originated from the Geneva Accord, which finally became the Abuja Accord, resolved as follows:

“SECTION G

Article 19

GENERAL AMNESTY

The Parties hereby agree that upon the execution of this Agreement there

shall be a general amnesty granted to all persons and parties involved in the

Liberian civil conflict in the course of actual military engagements.

Accordingly, acts committed by the Parties or by their forces while in actual combat or on authority of any of the Parties in the course of actual combat are hereby granted amnesty.

Similarly, the Parties agree that business transactions

legally carried out by any of the Parties hereto with private business

institutions in accordance with the laws of Liberia shall in like manner be

covered by the amnesty herein granted.

DONE AT COTONOU, REPUBLIC OF BENIN, IN SEVEN ORIGINAL COPIES

THIS TWENTY-FIFTH DAY OF JULY 1993

(Signed) Amos Claudius SAYWER

President of the Interim

Government of National

Unity of Liberia, for and on

behalf of the Interim Government

of National Unity of Liberia (IGNU)

(Signed) Enoch DOGOLEA

Vice-President of the

National Patriotic Front of

of Liberia, for and on behalf

of the National Patriotic

(Signed) Major-General Alhaji G. V. KROMAH

Leader of the United Liberation Movement

of Liberia for Democracy, for and on behalf

of the United Liberation Movement of Liberia

for Democracy (ULIMO)

(Signed) His Excellency Nicephore Dieudonne SOGLO

President of the Republic of Benin

and Current Chairman of ECOWAS

(Signed) Dr. James 0. C. JONAH

Under-Secretary-General

Department of Political Affairs,

United Nations Secretariat, for and

on behalf of the Secretary-General

of the United Nations

(Signed) Rev. Canaan BANANA

OAU Eminent Person for Liberia,

for and on behalf of the

Secretary-General of the

Organization of African Unity”

The resolution above is the actual root of the PALAVA HUT (Restorative Justice) process of resolving the Liberian conflict. This resolution which emanated from the United Nations did not envisage a war crime court to resolve the Liberian conflict. The resolution envisaged that those who committed crime outside of combat would be punished by Liberian and International Laws. The TRC did identify those who should be prosecuted and for what. The responsibility to implement that part of the TRC’s finding rest with the Liberian Legislature and the Executive branches. Not any International entity.

  • Mandate the new Reconciliation Commision  to also pursue the provision of the original Truth and Reconciliation mandates which was  to hold State Actors ( those nations which provided the enabling resources for the devastation of our country including the Doe Regime, and the series of civil wars, etc ) responsible for the cost of the catastrophe they sponsored and seek some restitution for the victims. When we speak of DETERANCE, this is the group that need to be held responsible for the havocs caused by their reckless fomentation of conflicts and supply of war implements in a weak country like Liberia in furtherance of their global agenda. These State Actors do so with impunity because they have the power. Please see Mr. Herman Cohen, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State testimony at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearing. See Also the Liberia reports by the International Crisis Group (ICG) for the State Actors contribution to the Liberian conflict.

Happy belated Independence Day.  May the Lord bless the work of your hands.

Respectfully yours,

Timothy Blaye

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