Liberia: “He Was A Very Notorious War General” – Massa Washington Describes Bill Horace Recently Gunned Down in Canada
MONROVIA – Massa Washington, a veteran journalist who covered Liberia’s civil war and a commissioner of the defunct Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) says throughout the TRC hearing, William Bill Horace who was recently killed in his home in Canada by unknown men, was described as one of the “very notorious NPFL war generals” of convicted President Charles Taylor.
Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]
Horace was never prosecuted for the crimes he allegedly committed during the war.
Horace, according to Ms. Washington, carried out most of his war activities in the southeastern region of Liberia and allegedly committed some of the most atrocious crimes in that part of Liberia during the conflict.
“He murdered whole families, shot people to death, behead people; he and his men were involved in the rape of women, opening pregnant women’s stomach; he was allegedly involved with the massacre of people. I specifically remember one massacre in River Gbeh which is now River Gee County – his name was also mentioned as one of the key perpetrators involved in that massacre,” Ms. Washington told the BBC Focus on Africa.
Not Good News for Liberians
According to her, the killing of the Horace does not come as a welcoming news to many Liberians who suffered untold sufferings at his hands or command. She said he was listed in the TRC report to face justice and his demise without prosecution is justice denied for hundreds of Liberians.
“His passing – I don’t think it’s a very good news for Liberians, especially his victims because justice is not being served in this case. He’s dead and gone, he’s not going to face the war crimes court, he’s not going to account on this earth for the wickedness that he’s done,” she said.
TRC Report Caught up in Politics
The former commissioner believes the warlords like Horace did not face justice because the TRC report was caught up in politics, noting that former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf served her for two terms without being true the implementation of the report. She hoped that though President Weah is serving his third year of presidency, he would consider the implementation of the report.
The TRC report comprised over 500 pages and called for the accountability, the establishment of a war crimes court to try notorious perpetrators who bore the greatest responsibilities for atrocities that occurred during the war.
“Unfortunately, the report has been caught up in the politics of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who was there – she had a two-term presidency. She was there for six  years, she saw the report she didn’t implement it; President Weah has arrived on the scene, this is his third year so, we’re hoping that he would look beyond the politics and will be able to work with civil society leaders and work with people like us who are calling for an end to impunity.”
She remains optimistic that the Weah-led government would work on the implementation of the report and ensuring justice for victims of war crimes.
“He murdered whole families, shot people to death, behead people; he and his men were involved in the rape of women, opening pregnant women’s stomach; he was allegedly involved with the massacre of people. I specifically remember one massacre in River Gbeh which is now River Gee County – his name was also mentioned as one of the key perpetrators involved in that massacre.”Massa Washington, Former Commissioner, Defunct Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Perpetrators as Bigwigs in Government
Ms. Washington said the excuse of Liberia moving on with its developmental drive, letting bygones be bygones is a perfect excuse for the perpetrators of war crimes – most of whom are currently serving in different government capacities.
“This is a very good excuse for perpetrators who now find themselves the new leaders of Liberia. You guys would know that we do have some alleged perpetrators who are bigwigs in government – they’re running the country. Some of them are in the House of Representatives, some of them are in Senate and some of them are in major areas of leadership in the country. So, it’s easy for them not to want the war crimes court,” she said.
She explained that at the community level, it is easy to realized how traumatized people are and how the victims – most of them are ordinary citizens are yearning for justice for the atrocities committed against them, especially so when the perpetrators are those currently enjoying the country’s wealth.
“There will be no true reconciliation or healing if we do not address the concerns of victims,” she said.