Friday, July 03, 2009

Liberia commission recommends warlord prosecution

UNMIL Public Information Office Media Summary 03 July 2009
Source: AP Online Regional - Africa Date: July 02, 2009

MONROVIA, Liberia_Liberia's truth and reconciliation commission recommended Thursday that ex-President Charles Taylor and seven other former warlords be prosecuted for crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in the West African country's civil war. The commission now will submit its recommendations to the country's legislature for consideration. It is not clear when it would start dealing with recommendations contained in the report. Liberia's back-to-back wars, which lasted from 1989 to 2003, sparked vicious factional fighting that killed an estimated 250,000 and displaced millions. Taylor, who launched the 1989 invasion, is on trial at The Hague, accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity in neighboring Sierra Leone. The Liberian commission recommended that he and seven other former warlords be prosecuted for offenses including "human rights violations, violations of international humanitarian law, international human rights laws, war crimes, egregious domestic economic crimes," the report said. Among those recommended for prosecution was Prince Johnson, a former rebel leader who won a landslide victory in the 2005 postwar election and is now a sitting senator.

Student finds determination to succeed
Source: McClatchy-Tribune Information Services Date: July 03, 2009
Jul. 3--Bernardine Okyne has come to Coastal Georgia all the way from war-torn Liberia thanks to her lifelong dreams and her steadfast determination. She is now a student at the Brunswick Job Corps, and while it may seem like she's a long way from home, she has made Brunswick her home and the people at Job Corps her second family. "They make you feel at home," she said, "They show you love and care and support." Okyne, 23, was born in Liberia, but fled to Ghana with her family when she was 6 years old to escape the Liberian Civil War. She now carries herself with the kind of confidence and strength of someone born to succeed. "Whatever happens in life happens for a reason. Never regret," Okyne said. She wants to be a neurosurgeon, and she has a firm path planned to take her there. Her dream of being a doctor developed naturally for her as a child growing up in Africa. "I'd see people in Africa, and if they had a brain tumor I would think, 'I wish I was a doctor so I could help them,'" she said. "I want to save lives and prevent suffering."

International Clips on West Africa
Sekou Conneh Is Treated As A Guinean
Jul 03, 2009 (All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- Reacting to public outcries relative to the reticence of the Liberian Government on the detention of Sekou Conneh in Guinea, former leader of one of the warring factions in Liberia, Information Minister Dr. Laurence Bropleh has set the record straight, saying that the detained Conneh is being treated as Guinean national and not a Liberian citizen. Saying that the Government of Liberia was concerned about his condition, he indicated that they (government) cannot do much because the former warlord is prominent citizen of Guinea. Apart from saying that he is a Guinean national, the Information Minister in the same vein noted that the Liberian government has not received any formal communication from the military government of Guinea, neither Ambassador E. Sumo Jones who follows the activities of all Liberians in that country.
Local Media – Newspaper
TRC Recommends President Sirleaf, Others Be Barred From Public Office for 30 Years
(Daily Observer, Liberian Express, Heritage, The News, The Inquirer, The Informer, New Vision, New Democrat, The Analyst, National Chronicle, The Independent, The Parrot)

· The Truth and Reconciliation Communication has finally released the listing of people recommended for prosecution and public sanction.
· Those recommended for prosecution include former President Charles Taylor of the defunct National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) Prince Johnson of the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) and Alhaji Kromah of United Liberation Movement for Liberia (ULIMO) K.
· Others are George Boley of Liberia Peace Council (LPC), Thomas Yaya Nimely of Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL), and Sekou Damante Konneh of Liberia United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD).
· The TRC also recommended that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Senator Isaac Nyenabo, Justice Kabineh Ja’neh, Toga McIntosh Gayewea and Joe Gbala among others to be barred from holding public office for 30 years.
· The Truth Commission named Lewis Brown, Oscar Cooper, Coocoo Dennis, Cora Peabody, Emmanuel Shaw and Edwin Snowe as those who committed economic crimes.
· Former Maritime Commissioner under Taylor, Mr. Benoni Urey, Charles Taylor, Lonestar Communications, Firestone Corporation are also among people and institutions accused of committing economic crimes.
· Under its further investigation column, the TRC wants Daniel Chea, Peter Coleman, Cyril Allen, Siaka Sherif and others to be further investigated.

Senate Finally Passes “Controversial” Population Threshold Bill
(Daily Observer, The Informer, New Vision, The Parrot, The News, The Analyst, Heritage)

· The Senate has finally passed into law a compromise version of the controversial population threshold bill
· The Senate passed the bill at 40,000 provided no County has less than two representations in the House of Representatives.
· The passage of the threshold bill came as a result of over five hours of closed doors discussions by the Senate.
· A conference committee would now be set up to harmonize the two versions of the threshold bill passed by the both Houses.
· The House of Representative earlier passed the bill at 40,000 without a condition.

US Funds Renovation of Harper City Hall
(The Informer)

· Maryland County authorities have turned over the Harper City Hall to the Liberia Community Infrastructure Program (LCIP) for rehabilitation and construction works.
· The renovation which is expected to last for four months has already been sub-contracted to GILGAL, a local construction firm, to implement the rehabilitation and construction of the hall.
· During programs marking the turn over of the hall, LCIP’s representative, Heather Robertson said LCIP has rehabilitated nine administrative buildings in the country, and the project in Harper will raise the number to 10.
· She said administrative buildings in five other counties have been worked on by the United Nations.
· The renovation of the Harper City Hall is being done with funding from the United States Government.

New Transport Fares Released -Violators To Face The Law
(Heritage,The Informer)

· After months of confrontation between commuters and commercial vehicle drivers, the Government of Liberia has finally released new transport fares for Monrovia and its environs.
· Announcing the new transport fares at the joint news conference hosted by the Ministries of Commerce and Transport, Commerce, Minister Miata Beysolow said the new fare structure is due to the increase in the price of petroleum products especially gasoline.
· A gallon of gasoline is now being sold at a retail price of 230 Liberian dollars.
· In the new fare structure, from Central Monrovia to Paynesville Red-light is 45 Liberian dollars in taxi cab while from Monrovia to Oldroad is now 30 dollars.
· Acting Transport Minister Julius Caesar said the decision was taken in consultation with the Ministry of Commerce and Transport Unions.
· He said inspectors would be deployed to monitor adherence and warned, serious measures await violators.

Local Media – Star Radio (culled from website today at 09:00 am)
(Also reported on Sky F.M., Truth F.M. and ELBC)

Senate Finally Passes “Controversial” Population Threshold Bill
(Also reported on Sky F.M., Truth F.M. and ELBC)

Finance Minister on Liberia’s Fiscal Status
· Finance Minister Augustine Ngafuan says Liberia is in a tight financial situation and that the country’s policy of cash based balanced budget was limiting expectations for spending in key sectors.
· According to the Finance Minister, Liberia has revised expectations in terms of Gross Domestic Products and export growth.
· Minister Ngafuan said while other countries have the abilities to borrow, Liberia is constrained to cut back during this period of the global economic slowdown.
· Minister Ngafuan said this was hindering development and key poverty reduction deliverables.

Governance Holds Retreat on Draft National Policy on Decentralization
· The Governance Commission today held a one day decentralization retreat for the House and Senate Committees on Governance.
· According to a statement, the retreat will explain key issues within the draft National Policy on Decentralization and local Governance.
· The statement said awareness on the draft decentralization policy will build consensus on the way forward.
· The policy came out of nearly three-year of nationwide consultations by the Governance Commission, key Government Ministries and Partners.
· The passage into law of the National Policy on Decentralization and Local Governance will eventually lead to a constitutional referendum in 2010.

Former President Charles Taylor to Begin Testifying July 13
· Former President Charles Taylor’s lead defense lawyer says his client’s testimony would be an integral part of the reconciliation process in Liberia.
· Mr. Courtney Griffiths said if the Liberian government is committed to promoting truth and reconciliation, it should pay attention to Taylor’s testimony.
· Former President Taylor is to give his account of the war in Sierra Leone on July 13.
· Though the testimony would focus on the Sierra Leone crisis, Mr. Griffiths also encouraged all Liberians to pay attention to what Taylor has to say.
· The Former Liberian President is being tried on eleven count criminal charges for allegedly supporting rebel forces in Sierra Leone from 1996 to 2002.

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1 comment:

Ohygee Tamba said...

Finally, in order for real justice to be seen to be done, the other key actors in the Liberian wars who carried out indiscriminate killings of civilians including women and children must also face trials for their crimes against humanity. These include LURD, MODEL, ULIMO J & K, as well as the remnants of the late President Doe's hinge men. I strongly believe that doing so would significantly contribute to genuine reconciliation and the national healing process in Liberia .

Failing to bring the other killers to justice would be tantamount to a white-wash and may be seen by other as the persecution of Mr Taylor and his associates, whilst the rest of those who carried out some of the worst atrocities in living memories are allowed to escape justice.I personnelly suport
the final report of the TRC.