PRESIDENT WEAH MUST PRIORITIZE ESTABLISHMENT OF A WAR CRIMES COURT IN LIBERIA
Dear President Weah,
I write to you with the request that you share my thoughts with our people, and your people (the Liberian people). It is incumbent upon you Mr. President, to speak out against injustices in Liberia. In my opinion, it will be best in your capacity as President and former Peace Ambassador, to seek peace through justice, reconciliation and unity amongst our people. History will judge how you exercise your duty during your service as President.
I, therefore, call upon you to influence the establishment of a Liberian War Crimes Court so that war victims will receive justice.
Your Excellency, some voices in your cycle claimed and are still saying you did the wrong thing when you accepted an appointed position as Peace Ambassador from former President (Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf). Whether that appointment was a calculated move to tire your hands from holding the likes of Madam Sirleaf accountable for war crimes should you later on become president, accepting it was the right thing to do in the interest of peace. As a former Peace Ambassador, it may appear embarrassing for you to demand that Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf herself answer questions on the allegation of war crimes. But is it not more embarrassing to see those who killed 250,000 people walk freely across the country?
Manneh, hide not your feelings, just as you did when you said the war in Liberia was unacceptable. Hide not your feelings, just as you did when you called the United States and the world to intervene to stop the war in Liberia while you were still on the soccer field of play in Europe.
Legend, you are undoubtedly aware that our next-door neighbor (Serra Lone) has done the right thing by bringing those who caused the destruction of lives and properties in that country to justice. To prove to us that they have backbones, they even brought one of our own to justice and he is now in Prison. The people of Serra Lone demanded justice and they got it. We can do the same!
Your Excellency, to be complacent about the little peace Liberia now enjoys as a result of the generosity of the United Nations and Ecowas, only to neglect a path that will bring greater and long-lasting peace is a dangerous game to play.
Steven Rap – former prosecutor at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and Head of the Office of Global Criminal Justice in the U.S. Department of State said the establishment of a Liberian war crimes court “is not a decision for the United States; not a decision for Steven Rapp. It’s a decision for the people of Liberia”. Mr. Rap said, “what happened in Sierra Leone is that after the end of the war, their President wrote with strong public support for a special court to be established to be a partnership with Sierra Leone and the United Nations”.
Public support is the main phrase in the above paragraph. And you, Mr. President, can easily get the support of the Liberian public on this issue.
It is now clear that the decision over whether or not a War Crimes Court will be established in Liberia is not a decision for the United States of America or any foreign power to make but one the Liberian government will have to initiate for such court to become a reality.
Once you get the support of the Liberian public, they can pressure themselves/government to cave in to their demands. To me, the Liberian government in this context means the people of Liberia; it means public support for the establishment of a Liberian War Crimes Court.
As such, I ask that you use your office to influence the establishment of such a court in Liberia. After all, the people are the government, aren’t they?
As you are even more aware, Individuals who masterminded the killings of innocent Liberians to include the killing of those who influenced the successfulness of your soccer career are the judges in charge of running the affairs of the country today. Your advocacy to bring to book those who caused the deaths of over 250,000 innocent People, some of whom were your soccer fans, is an act of being a witness to your call as a just leader, and that you believe in fair play and the rule of law. This is your chance to show who you are, and what you stand for during these difficult times of Liberia’s political lifecycle.
Mr. President, I know that you want freedom, a just and peaceful Liberia, where the rule of law will be the language of the day. Be reminded that the same justice you wanted when innocent Liberians were killed during the 2011/12 elections is the same justice war victims want for those who were killed for nothing during the course of the Liberian war.
Now there you are, in just the right position to make a change, a positive change that brings lasting peace and justice to your people.
Take advantage of it, and do the right thing.
I like to bring to your attention that the foundation upon which any legal government must function is “The Rule of law”. And such foundation, though on the books is greatly compromised today in Liberia.
National reconciliation, economic recovery, the combat of corruption, good governance, transparency, and accountability cannot happen in Liberia if Justice is out of the equation. Without justice, effectively managing Liberia’s natural resources, and the issue of land reform will be meaningless. That is why I ask that you use your position to influence the popular demand for the establishment of a Liberian War Crimes Court. Doing so would deter those who believe in running the affairs of Liberia using cowboy criterion that only favors might over right. I am of the conviction that once the rule of law is put into place in Liberia, all other good things will follow by default.
Manneh, again, this is it! Do not let it slip from your hands.
Make history like you did when you made us proud in the world of soccer yesteryears. Remember, it is now in your reach to hear the cry of your people for justice. Let not the killers of their loved ones go free.
More importantly, please let me know that you will by no means mind the deliciousness of an okra soup only to swallow a bone.
Take your time and do the right thing this time.
I hope to hear from you soon.
Bernard Gbayee Goah
President, Operation We Care for Liberia
Personal Phone: (971) 533-4650
Personal Email: [email protected]