|Bernard Gbayee Goah|
President, Operation We Care for Liberia
I want to caution the international community against imposing a fixed solution on the Liberian people using a “Behind-The-Scene” derived approach or formulas”. If core issues that led to the backwardness of this country are not properly addressed, soon the country could become a distraction within the West African sub-region.
However, while I detest any calculated solution imposition on the Liberian people, I warmly encourage the involvement of the international community in supporting the will and desire of the Liberian people in the country’s post-war justice, reconstruction and peace building process. As Liberians go to the polls to elect new public officials, it is important that those who want to help lift Liberia out of the abyss of poverty understand the hopes and aspirations of the people. Citizens eagerly look forward to a new beginning that will mark the end of war, senseless violence, impunity and moral decadence.
To Liberia’s international partners; I say this to you…if you desire the best for Liberia, then please do not impose remedies that are contrary to what the Liberian people truly desire. Also, please do not exhibit biases in your good intentions to contribute to the reconstruction, and post-war justice process of Liberia. Liberia is just too old to adjust to peace formulas that are only bent on temporary solutions because the premise of such solution is to erroneously equate the absence of the sound of gun battle to peace.
It is also totally wrong for any one to interpret the absence of political protests and poverty-provoked street violence as the absence of disillusionment in the country. The prevailing peace in Liberia is only temporary and must be firstly attributed to the resilience of the people themselves to swallow the bitter pills for a while, and secondly to the brief observatory efforts of the United Nations Peacekeepers. During this transitional period of temporary peace, the people of Liberia were of the hopes that specific steps would have been taken to prevent the reoccurrence of past horrors that visited them. Sadly, this has not happened and the window of opportunity might just be fast closing.
We, (all of us) must remind ourselves that a durable solution to Liberia’s quagmire has yet to be reached. Those same derivatives that led to the demise of the country are even more visible today as of this publication. Those who bear the greatest responsibilities for the horrors in Liberia have not yet been held accountable for the crimes they’ve committed. Government has allowed rape, torture and murder to go unpunished. Those who planned, financed, supervised and executed the wanton destruction of Liberia and its human resource, seem to be clinging to the mistaken belief that their actions against the nation and its people were justified. As a result, Liberians are kept in perpetual poverty, while the alleged perpetrators and their reported conies mellow in the resources of the state with demonstrated arrogance.The people of Liberia must now move to avert the potential re-occurrence of this national nightmare by taking practical steps to restrain the aggressors.
I therefore call on the people of Liberia to demand the establishment of a War Crimes Court without further delay. They must pressure their government by any necessary means to implement the justice component of the TRC recommendation in relations to the establishment of a War Crimes Court. Such step is necessary because it offers the best opportunity and remedy to end the era of violence and launch Liberia into the age of sustained peace, stability, and economic prosperity.
The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes court that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results.