Liberia: Justice Group Accuses Weah-Led Govt of Enlisting Ex-Combatants, Putting Them on Payroll
Washington – The International Justice Group has accused the George Manneh Weah-led government of clandestinely enlisting, recruiting and mobilizing former combatants and demobilized ex-generals for active duties on his government’s payroll.
ICJ, in a petition to the government calling for the full implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (ICG) Saturday, said amidst allegations that President Weah made a pact with President Johnson Sirleaf and Senator Prince Johnson to shield them and their family from justice, ex-combatants are resurrecting and resurfacing in Liberia.
Amongst those named by the ICG are: General Ofori Diah…ULIMO J/LURD, Marshall Dennis …MODEL, Charles Bright …NPFL, Stewart Briggs…NPFL, Logan Davis …NPFL, Sam Saryon …. INPFL, Todd Garlo …ULIMO K, Prince Johnson …INPFL, Zortawon Tatus …INPFL and Saymah Syrenus Cephus…NPFL.
The ICG report comes in the wake of a Daily Observer report last week that Augustine Nagbe, alias “General Power,” an ex-rebel general, led heavily armed officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) to the premises of Roots FM 102.7 to affect the closure of the radio station last week.
The ICG also accused the government of usurping its functions. “Liberia is a republican form of constitutional democracy in which the three branches of government (the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary) perform equal, but distinct coordinating functions (executing the law, making the law and interpreting the law, respectively) of government. One branch cannot perform the functions of the other or constitutionally or legally be called upon to do so.”
The function of the Chief Executive, the ICG said, is to execute the law. “The TRC Law provides that all the recommendations of the TRC shall be implemented. By this, there is no question as to whether The Recommendations of the TRC should be implemented or not – They must be implemented according to law by the President. The President cannot pass the buck. The buck stops with him. He cannot in good faith ask the legislature to advise him on matters of executive actions. The Legislature functions are not to advise the President on matters of the TRC Law or Implementing the Recommendations of the TRC. The Legislative function is to make the laws, pass legislation that gives effect to the TRC Recommendations.”
The ICG said the President has a corps of advisors, including lawyers who are hired to give him advice on any and all matters of state claiming the attention of the President. However, instead of asking the Legislature for advice, the President, the group said, his advisors and the legislature should be demanding that the President make periodic (quarterly) reports to the Legislature on the manner of execution of all the recommendations of the TRC, according to the TRC Law.
Instead, the ICG said the President intends to play the games of former President Sirleaf, failing to realize that times have changed and President Sirleaf made several of such reports to the National Legislature, on her efforts to implement the TRC Report, lauding the TRC for the good work of the Commission which she highlighted was good for the social-economic, democratic and progressive development of the Country, including its peace, reconciliation and security objectives.
Unfortunately, it said, the Judiciary outplayed President Sirleaf at her own games and deceive her into thinking she could escape, renege on her obligations to implement the TRC Report as Chief Executive, President of Liberia. “The conniving, subservient Judiciary rendered President Sirleaf an advisory opinion on the TRC Report, which under our law is illegal and has no place in Liberia’s Jurisprudence. In the absence of any real controversy, the decision of the then Lewis Bench was illegal, with no legal effect and a complete nullity. Justice advocates the world, over have ignored the bogus ruling as if the event of its occurrence did not happen at all.”
In the same spirit of subservience, it said, the current Korkpor Bench impeached one of its own (Justice Kabineh Ja’neh) in outright and very explicit terms violated the Constitution of Liberia to please the President and advance his imperial pursuits as president of Liberia.
Fear vs Interest
Establishment of the court will lead to restoration security and stability to Liberia, and enhance the agenda for national peace and reconciliation in Liberia; The establishment of the court and instituting justice in Liberia will stimulate trust and rebuild public trust in national institutions
With proper understanding, all Liberians now understand that the establishment of the court will Deliver justice for millions of victims of the war and abuses of the war; By pursuing justice, the backward culture of impunity will be addressed;
By pursuing justice, the rule of law will be reestablished and given firmer roots in Liberia’s body politics; Rampant corruption (remember leading cause for 1980 coup d’état) will lead to another round of violent conflict and war, while establishing the court and instituting justice will prevent the recurrence of violent conflicts and wars in Liberia.
Establishment of the court will lead to restoration security and stability to Liberia, and enhance the agenda for national peace and reconciliation in Liberia; The establishment of the court and instituting justice in Liberia will stimulate trust and rebuild public trust in national institutions;
The IJG is considering commissioning an investigation into the war roles and belligerent activities of President Weah with the MODEL Warring Faction and the intensity or fullest extent of Dr Fahnbulleh’s belligerence during the war.
Establishment of the WECC must be a welcomed development for Liberia, not only will it boost the Liberian economy, but it will boost the capacity of the corrupt judiciary, entrench the international law regime in the country and advance Liberia’s international law jurisprudence and human rights and humanitarian law regimes that may eventually lead Liberia to becoming a Universal Jurisdiction where there is no safe haven for war crimes, crimes against humanity and International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law violations and violators;
The National Legislature does not and cannot legally advice the Head of State on any executive action related to the Full Implementation of The TRC Recommendations; actions by The Head of State in that direction is unwittingly unwise, camouflage, deceptive ploy to pass the buck to the National Legislature and renege on his national obligations, thereby abdicating his national duty, imposed by law, for reasons already stated above; if the Head of State fails or is unable or reluctant to perform his national duties imposed by law, it is only best that he steps aside and give another Liberian the chance to carry on the business of national governance;
The only role reserved for the National Legislature by the TRC Law is to receive the Report from the TRC and receive bills for enactment into law that fulfills the full implementation of the TRC recommendations like the one we are presenting to today which was previously presented as an Appendix to the TRC Report ten (10) years ago when released and presented to the National Legislature. See Article X, Section 43 of the TRC Law;
There is no question or doubt as to whether the TRC Recommendations should be implemented. While the TRC Law specifies that the Report is presented to the National Legislature (in order to enhance its check-and-balance or oversight function) Section 43, the Recommendations are presented to the Head of State (Article VII, Section 26(j), and further in Article X, Section 48, providing that “… All recommendations shall be implemented…” : And the Head of State must report to the National Legislature and not the other way around with the Legislature Reporting to the President on its advice to him.