Press Release From Jerome J. Verdier, SR
THE Chairman of the erstwhile Liberia Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia (TRC), Jerome J Verdier has praised the International Justice system and all peace and justice advocates around the world for the very exciting work that brought justice to Mr. Guus Kouwenhoven.
In a statement issued over the weekend from the United States of America, Cllr Verdier said the pursuit of justice in the cause of Liberia will continue until all major perpetrators of war and economic crimes answer to the call of justice.
He said Mr. Govenhoven, without regards to human suffering, war crimes committed in Liberia at the time, which warranted the imposition of arms embargo and other sanctions on Liberia by the international community, was trading arms mainly in exchange for Liberia’s timber resources which was fueling the war machine of former president Charles Taylor of the defunct National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL).
Chairman Jerome J. Verdier said the 19 year jail sentence given Mr. Govenhoven is well deserved and justice has been served in the case of Mr. Guus Govenhoven. He thanks the prosecutors in Belgium for their persistence, thorough investigation and determination to see that justice is done in Liberia.
Chairman Verdier went further to disclose that the International Justice Community will ensure that a special court with be established for Liberia to bring closure to issues of justice and reconciliation in Liberia will focus war crimes and egregious violations of human rights and economic crimes committed in Liberia, during and after the transitional period which is still ongoing.
Sable Mining/Global Witness Case
Chairman Verdier went on to appeal to the International Community, including the United States, European Union, United Nations, African Union and ECOWAS not to waver or relent in closing the chapters of war in Liberia by ensuring that justice and peace continues to be the fulcrum for a genuine reconciliation and lasting peace in Liberia.
He said it appears that the Government of Liberia wants to play fun and do business as usual with the ongoing Global Witness corruption case in Liberia. He said bringing down Cllr Varney Sherman and the former Speaker of the House of Representative Hon. Alex Tyler, who were perceived enemies of President Ellen Johnson’s Government is not enough. There are other alleged culprits like the President’s son, Fombah Sirleaf, Henry Fahnbulleh, and others including Former Lands and Mines Minister, Eugene Shannon be equally accountable for their roles in this corruption saga, a common character of The Ellen Sirleaf Government.
Let all be warned and aware that justice advocates will not rest until the wheels of justice are rolling in Liberia completely delivering justice for every person, high or low, warlord or economic criminal. This will usher into being the new Liberia we envision that will treat everyone equally before the law and make everyone proud of the country.
We acknowledge the support for justice in Liberia that the International Community and justice advocates continue to demonstrate for Liberia. This effort will continue and there will be no rest, no relent until those war and economic criminals are brought to justice, whether they are in government or out of government.
Since the arrest, trial and jailing of Former President Charles Taylor, others have been arrested and many more are under close security surveillance awaiting final actions to bring them to justice.
Roster of War Crime Perpetrators
To date, the roster of convicted, arrested and alleged war crimes perpetrators include Charles G. Taylor, George Boley, G. Thomas Woeweiyu, Alieu Kosia, Mohammed Jabbateh, Ms. Martina Johnson and now Guus Kouwenhoven.
The perpetrators of major unsolved killings or murders, of R. Vanjah Richards in 1990, Samuel Williams, Charles Gbeyon, Noah Flomo, and Shaki Kamara of west point amongst others have already been identified and will be brought to justice along with several others who are hiding and changing their identities from one place to another, will be arrested and brought to justice.
We are aware that some perpetrators have managed to infiltrate and exercise authority over some of Liberia’s security entities in Liberia. They are monitored for ongoing violations even as they seek cover and diversions, using the Liberian security sector as refuge and hiding place and protection. In due time and during the next government, those elements will be weeded out of the security establishment and answer to justice for their role they played during the 1990 criminal enterprise of “Liberation”.