Court Takes Early Recess As Defense Lawyers Request More Time To Study Documents Disclosed By Prosecutors For Mr. Taylor’s Cross-Examination

The trial of former Liberian president, Charles Taylor, took an unexpectedly early recess today after his defense team asked for more time to study documents disclosed by prosecutors for use in Mr. Taylor’s cross-examination.

After judges issued an order last Thursday requiring prosecutors to disclose to Mr. Taylor’s defense team all new documents intended for use by prosecutors in cross-examining Mr. Taylor, prosecutors have now disclosed more than 100 new documents. These documents will either be used to try to impeach Mr. Taylor’s credibility as a witness in his own defense or to point to his guilt on the 11 charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international humanitarian law for his alleged role in the crimes committed by rebel forces during the Sierra Leonean conflict.

Today, defense lawyers told the judges that the magnitude of the documents already disclosed — with more expected from the prosecution — they would need more time to study them and prepare for Mr. Taylor’s cros-examination based on those documents.

The team requested that proceedings be adjourned immediately and that they be given the entire period of the Christmas recess to study all the disclosed documents. The court’s recess was due to run from December 11, 2009 to January 11, 2010.

“I am asking that we be given this week and the rest of the recess to have time to assimilate these documents,” lead defense counsel Courtenay Griffiths told the judges.

The defense also asked the judges to exercise some judicial supervision over the use of the documents that prosecutors intend to use in cross-examining Mr. Taylor. The defense requested that “before any document is used, we should establish that the document is in the interest of justice and does not violate the fair trial rights of the accused.”

Prosecutors did not object to the defense application. On the defense request for the court to order an immediate adjournment of the proceedings, lead prosecutor Brenda Hollis told the judges that “should the defense think that they need more time to consider these documents, then it is their right to do and it is for you to determine.”

After conferring with each other, the judges issued an order granting the defense request for an immediate adjournment that will run into the court’s Christmas recess. The court also ordered that all documents intended for use in cross-examination of Mr. Taylor be served on the bench for “judicial supervision.”

Mr. Taylor’s cross-examination will continue on Monday January 11, 2009.


  1. The Prosecution had a severe set back to their case because of their continuing to not act in accordance with the judges orders given about “fresh evidences” introduced during cross-examination. Judges Lussick, upon returning to the bench after considering and made a decision on two Motion the Defense put forward said, the bench was at a lost at why the Prosecution team continuing to lack the understanding of the ruling handy down about the “fresh evidence” course of action. The Judge explain the “contents” of the documents that show impeach of testimony or show guilt is to be use as “fresh evidences,” not because the Prosecution want to use documents for the purpose that it may show impeach of testimony or show guilt. The Judge therefore orders the Prosecution to disclose all documents to be used in cross-examination of Mr. Taylor. With the “content” identify in each documents to be use to impeach the testimony (category 1) and show guilt (category 2) to the Defense team and to the Judges for judicial supervision. Both Defense motions were granted.

  2. The prosecution early strategy to impeach Taylor’s testimony is out of wack. At an early stage of cross examination most seasoned prosecutors will vigorously cross examined the accused without directly asking the court for an order of impeachment. Also, during closing arguments the prosecution could remind the court that the accused was nothing less than being earnest in his testimony. His testimony under direct examination contradicts his cross examination testimony. However, if the prosecution openly asked the court for an order of impeachment, and said order is granted, the judges will now be looking out for a smoking gun. It is a good strategy only if the prosecution has overwhelming evidence.

    So far, this is the exact opposite. The prosecution evidences are not slam dunk evidences. The prosecution performed very poorly on her first day of the fresh evidence ruling. For instance, Mr. Koumjian was mystified presenting questions to CT that dealt with general accounting principals. He was perplexed in his line of questioning between debit and credit, accounts statement and accounts summary. Obviously, as an economist, CT took control and gives Mr. Koumjain a lesson in accountant 101.

    I will give Mr. Koumjian’s the benefit of the doubt for his poor performance financial cross examination. He is not an accountant, supposedly he’s a lawyer. But as a learned lawyer, shouldn’t Mr. Koumjian know better than to generate his own bank income statement document with the intent to cross examine the accused from said document? Of course, Perry Mason wasted no time to object on the ground; Mr. Koumjian can’t be a prosecutor and a witness at the same time. Judge Lussick, sustained. Judge Lussick proposed a question to Mr. Koumjain. What if questions arose sometimes later and the defense would like to asked questions pertaining to this document, would he (Koumjian) take the witness stand to answer the defense questions? Mr. Koumjian withdrew the question and the document. The prosecution rested 10 minutes earlier before the close of business.

  3. Alpha Sesay

    I have just read J. Fallah Menjor post on December 4, 2009 @11:02 PM. In his post, he said, you are a Sierra Leonean Nationale. Are you really a Sierra Leonean Nationale? Is it true to what Fallah said about you being a Sierra Leonean citizen? I didn’t know. However, I have never thought of your nationality before. By the way Alpha, why didn’t you say anything about Fallah statement of you being a Sierra Leonean?

    Fallah, when, where, and how, did you know Alpha’s nationality? Did he ever disclose his nationality on this site or any other manner before?

    Alpha, if you have the time, please respond to this post; because, Fallah has just raised an intriguing point about your citizenship.

    Please Alpha, do not see this inquery by me as in any way of comtempt and suspicion about your reporting and job. However, I just want to know.

      1. Thanks Tracey and Alpha for your work.

        Although I have not really bothered to check until now, I could tell from the wording of the transcripts that Alpha had a legal mind. I appreciate your work, bro. Whether you are a Liberian, Ghanaian, Sierra Leonean, British, Thai, or American, it really does not matter, bro. what matters is the outcome of our loud mouth brother – Taylor.

        May I push this one step further, if you will allow me? Since we have now put face to name in the case of Alpha, may we know who you are Tracey? Is there any information on this website about you? If so, please direct your readers to it and also thanks for your great job and ‘for taking the heat’ from us on this trial that has aroused much interest and emotions. Many thanks.

        1. Hi Noko7 – I agree – Alpha is doing a great job and has a great legal mind.

          You are welcome to know who I am, Noko7, though I don’t have an official bio on this site. I am an Australian lawyer who has worked as a journalist, a policy advisor with the Australian government both in Canberra and overseas, and an academic researcher before working in the international justice field with the Open Society Justice Initiative.

          Thanks also for your kind words. I know this trial provokes a lot of intense emotions – and justifiably so — but I don’t really think I “take the heat” so much as enjoy jumping into the conversation with other readers. I find the debate among all the readers here quite fascinating, actually.

          Looking forward to hearing more from you in this forum, Noko7.


        2. Tracey,
          I needed to reply to your tread but couldn’t so I am replying to my own tread. Thanks for taking the time to share with us who you are. I appreciate it.

          1. Of course Noko7 – no problem. I completely understand the desire to know more about the people behind the names who are providing information about this trial, even if only as a way of determining how much faith to put into our analysis and updates, and whether we can be viewed as credible monitors and communicators.

        3. Noko7,
          It’s a good thing to know people, as you are trying to do, but I thing it is good to have loud mouth as Taylor. Reason is that, his mouth is not just loud ,he is god damn smart, that why he got the loud mouth to talk. . His loud mouth shall set him freeeee…ok!!!!.. powerful GHANKAY all the way

    1. Jose Rodriguez,
      I probably missed J. Fallah Menjor’s question about my nationality that is why i did not respond to it. I thought that my nationality is a matter of public record since it is posted on this site already. Yes, indeed, i am a Sierra Leonean.


      1. Tracey/Alpha,

        thanks for satisfying my curiosity and not looking at it differently.

        I say, thanks again.

    2. Jose,
      I read some of your old threads (Nov 26) when I was away about bnker thinking that the Liberians are stupid….and you all will run me away from if I stick to my game plan…I would responds but somethings are comical and thus warrants silence…I however commented on the fact that you said CT will be aquitted. I will repeat my response. I hope that he is. I have not been a proponent this trial in SL, but I am supportive for legal actions in Liberia. If he is freed, then he can now answer questions to those he is truely is answerable to, the Liberian people. I think he and everyone else should be answerable, with no exception.

      You know I find in interesting that you have never answered my question on the issue of trial in Liberia. You’ve asked my take on the TRC report. What do you think? I think this is my third attempt; hopefully the saying works for me, “three times is a charm”.

      1. Bnker – you raised the possibility of a trial in Liberia and you also mentioned the TRC report. I thought you and other readers may be interested in this — news stories are coming out the last few days about the release of the final TRC report or Liberia, which also seems to be renewing debate about what should happen to its recommendations. Here are a few links for those interested:

        From VOA:
        From VOA from a few days ago:
        From the Liberian Observer: and

        Of interest to some on this site, the first VOA link above reports that the TRC has included additional names to the list of either of the most notorious perpetrators, under the category of economic crimes, or for sanction to be banned from public office in the final version of the report — including John T. Richardson, the lawyer who heads the Legal Association for the Defense of Charles Taylor. It is unclear from the news report, however, which category the TRC report has placed him under — someone who has seen the final TRC report might have more information.


        1. Tracey,

          The TRC process is a futile endeavor. The commission side-stepped her mandate. The commission’s recommedation are more retributive in nature than reconciliative. With such posture, the report is naturally doomed.

          Secondly, the report has to undergo legislative and presidential review for approval or rejection. Currently it is was submitted to the legislature and their review is pending.

          All this noise about implementation of TRC report is unrealistic. As for me I support call for the members of the commission to reimburse all honorarium paid to them for the period because they failed the Liberian people. That report is convulated with malice, and vendetta. There is no peace and reconciliation as the reflect the nomenclature of the commission.

          The reality is those recommedations will never be implemented.

          1. Hi Andrew,

            Thanks for letting me know your perspective on this. Do you happen to know what the likely timeframe might be before the legislative finishes its review and makes recommendations?


          2. Tracey,

            The last report was that the legislature was going to discuss the recommendations of the TRC report with their constituents while on recess. We have not heard since then. But will make a follow-up and keep you posted.

        2. Tracey,
          John T. Richardson is not a lawyer. The only John T. Richardson that I know is an Engineer and an Academics(quoting the words of CT).

      2. Bnker,

        I did not say, I will run you away or, some of us will run you away, if you stick to your game plan. However, what I said to Noko5 on Nov. 28, @9:51 AM and can be accessed on Nov. 26, 2009 posting was, “Trust me, bnker will run away if he continues his game plan.” Notwithstanding, the game plan I was talking about was the delibrate denial of the fact that you continue to profess to be neutral in this trial and at the same time saying that the video we provided concerning how arms and ammunitions were sent to Sierra Leone did not cover the period under which President Taylor was indicted. Subsequently, I provided some of your extreme comments that negate your self described neutrility status, that you continue to falsely claim in other posting.So Bnker, do not twist or misrepresent my statement. It is right there to be read on Daily summary November 26, 2009.

        bnker, it is true, that I said President Taylor will be acquitted based on the evidence presented thus far by the prosecution.
        Bnker, thank you ever so much for saying that you are not a proponent of President Taylor’s fake trial in the Hague. However, you are on record for your statement. And I hope, you don’t change.

        Concerning the TRC report, it is a tricky situation. However, in as much that I want it to be implemented, I will also want to see Dr. Amos C. Sawyer, Interim Government Leader, whose administration formed five (5) rebels grouip in Liberia, Brownie Samuka, Black Berat Leader, in the Civil war, currently serving in Ellen’s government as Defense Minister, who massively killed our people. H. Boimah Fahnbulah Jr., rebel leader, since 1985 and General Butt Naked, who said, he killed over 20,000.00 people.

        Bnker, the TRC report is priamarily going after after the Taylor’s people. Bear in mind now, President Charles Ghankay Taylor is the most populars politicina in and out of Liberia right now. How can you go after Taylor and his men , when in fact , they are dominatining Liberia politics?

        Bnker, I will go in detail when you respond to this post.

        1. So third time is a charm…I believe it now….

          About my disapproval of the trial in SL, I have been on record from my initial inception. While I am against the trail, it does not mean that I should blindly object to everything that happens. You tend to focus on what you call my neutrality. Let this be for the record also, I have nothing to prove to you and will never be answerable to you or anyone who might see my views as different from yours. For some, neutrality is siding with their views of the argument….sorry my friend; I don’t bend with the wind. People who tend to bend, oppress, silence, ridicule or refuse to see the other side of debates, they miss the “meat” of the argument, stand for nothing or show signs of the lack of tolerance for opposition. Again, I don’t support Doe, and all those rebels to the Liberian people, including Charles Taylor, Alhaji Kromah, Dante Conteh, George Boley, PJY and all others who have placed Liberia to one of the world poorest countries. While I don’t agree with you many times, I still strongly respect your opinions, unfortunately some don’t provide others the same luxury. What do you mean that I think the Liberian people are stupid? Because we don’t see things alike, doesn’t my mean I question the collective intelligence of the Liberian people. The purpose of this forum is to debate while respecting….some people are missing this by miles…..

          OK, you have said that Charles Taylor is the must popular politicians in Liberia. Let’s assume that you are right? What has his popularity done for Liberia; what has he done for Liberia as a nation? What development did he bring to Liberia? Did our educational system improve any, did our medical system get a boost in its arm; did we see our economic output improve? I would say no….please don’t use the tired argument, “oh he had sanctions”, well, my rebuttal is check out Cuba, an island nation with only “sugar cane” as its export and under many years of sanctions too. I wonder what our priorities are. Do we continue to put individuals above national interest, do you think that an individual happiness exceeds your individual ability to live in peace while your friends and family suffer? I am most certain you will say NO! Then we need leaders who we know can make live better for you, me and our families. I don’t intend to live in the US forever…So is the so-called popularity of Taylor and the wealth he was able to amass more important to your individual comfort and peace? If you say, yes, then CT is your man for your Liberia, but not my Liberia

          Now after talking my heart away, let’s go to the TRC report. You know what, the report is not perfect; there is no perfect document. You want Brownie Samukai on the list, Dr. Sawyer etc. do you know BJ’s level of involvements in the formulation of the Black Beret? NO, you don’t. I think you are shying away committing yourself to acknowledging that of a court system to prosecute those responsible for hideous crimes. Ok, again for argument sake lets assume that BJ and Sawyers are included as was John T Richardson recently placed. What crimes documented that the Black Beret commit? I don’t know of any, or because they became a part of the crisis by fighting against the NPFL. I doubt you will get what you want. Face it Jose, CT and those recommended should face prosecution and maybe others will be added. You claim that only CT men are target of the TRC report? Then how can you explain all other factional leaders who are recommended–including AFL (alleged death squad members).

          You know what my brother, I nah talk plantay sef.

    3. Jose….

      Man, you are off your game….what’s up with asking Alpha’s nationality? Does it matter; it’s almost like asking someone, “you what tribe”. I hate that question. I was in NY for a finance conference and met a gentleman who worked for the hotel; he was from Liberia. He asked my name and I provided that information. Our conversation was great until he asked the unthinkable, “are you Mandingo” ( I don’t have a problem being Mandingo, it was the nerve of asking for tribal links), I said does my tribe really matter? I told him that’s why we are so backwards today. That was the end of my conversation with him….

      We need to think people as humans.

      Anyhow, bro, you are experiencing a short mental lapse, but I look forward to you getting back on the ball…..

      Your bro

      1. Bnker,

        If you are actually reading comments from this site, you will soon realize that Alpha Sesay himself said, “he thinks his nationality is a matter of public record.” By the way, I was responding to Fallah comments about Alpha being a Sierra Leonean, which of course, I didn’t know, nor thought about anyone nationality, until it was raised by Fallah. So in order to know the facts, I decided to ask Alpha for his confirmation or denial. Apart from that, Alpha himself did not had a problem. Look bnker, find something meaningfulto engage me on and not this trivial issue.

  4. Jose Rodriguez: What does Alpha’s nationality has to do with anything? What is YOUR nationality? Better yet…don’t answer that. Let’s all focus on this case and leave the other stuff alone, please.

    Back to the subject: The prosecutors are finally closing in. The Defense have been arguing they needed evidence to support their case against Taylor….and the prosecutors are about to do that. In the name of fairness and justice, I’d say the judges did the right thing by granting the Defense all the time they need to prepare.

    That bank account that was recently disclosed, actually shattered Taylor’s argument he had ”no bank account.” Liberia has a Central Bank that it uses to conduct government business. Was was Mr. Taylor doing opening an account in his personal name? Those judges aren’t stupid…they can see right throught the smoke screen: that account belong to Charles Taylor…period.

    1. What does Charles Taylor bank account has to do with this trial anyway. Let these guys deal with the issue that Mr Taylor was taken to the Hague for, (war in Sierra Leone) and then the people of Liberia will then take Mr Taylor to court concerning the bank account and for waging war in Liberia.

    2. Cousin 6,
      Did he LIE about not owning a bank account?? NO!!! I keep telling you, you need to read the TRANSCRIPTS of this case and STOP depending on Alpha’s summaries.

      Even the Mr. Koumjian was CONFUSED as a deer in a headlight…

      1. Hi Noko4 — just out of curiousity: in light of your comment to “Cousin 6”, are you concerned that Alpha’s summaries are not accurate? If so, can you let us know specific examples? Both Alpha and I would be grateful if you let us know – I know Alpha works extremely hard to ensure his summaries are as accurate as possible and both of us remain happy to discuss concerns if readers disagree or contest the accuracy of posts.

        1. Tracey,
          My Cousin Noko6 is just up to NOISE MAKING…ha ha. He reads nothing more than Alpha’s summaries…..SUMMARIES and NOT the FULL stories….

          Alpha is doing a great job in case you want my take.

      2. Cousin 4, much as I do not fully rely on Alpha’s summation of the court’s preceding, I think the brother is doing a good job.

        Coming to the real issue I think with Koumjian rising to the cockpit to help steer things in the wake of Hollis’ near ship wreck, this trial is beginning to generate more curiosity then ever before. And the chances of brother Taylor walking as you predicted earlier in one of your posts, is becoming very slim by the day. Though, I disagree with you that it will be for political reasons but for reasons of guilt supported by mountains of evidence.

        1. Cousin 7,
          What evidences??? Really can you point a SINGLE PIECE of CREDIBLE EVIDENCE presented by this prosecution team that LINKS Mr. Taylor to any of the charges??? Here we have prosecutors who are LOST in the wilderness and looking for COMPASS to find their way out. If this case was held in any Western Court, it would have been thrown at from the get go.

          Witnesses telling falsehood, witnesses contradicting other witnesses, evidences collected not logged in properly, evidences missing etc etc.

          Now what we down to…..Liberia. We were told this is about Sierra Leone so why the BACKDOOR??? We need to see the LINKS.

        2. Noko7
          Cousin, could you please defend your statements with some facts that we can follow? Reason is that you’ve admitted in one of your post about the wreckage you have experienced from Holis performances…thanks

    3. Noko6,
      If even Mr. Taylor had personal account opened in Liberia, does that support the prosecution case that Mr. Taylor order and commanded the killing of Sierra Leonean? Was any money deposited into this account by any company buying diamonds from liberia or Sierra Leone?
      There are AFRC press releases that speak alot about the Sierra Leonean situation; especially on the sale of Diamonds by former President Kabbah which led to the birth of the AFRC and I asked that you read this one!

      Armed Forces Revolutionary Council
      Press Release
      14 November 1997
      The Government of Sierra Leone, the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, AFRC, has learned with grave concern and the deepest sense of shock, the unprovoked and brutal attack on innocent civilians on 7th November, 1997 by the illegal Kamajor bandits at Sembehun and Shenge in the Moyamba District.
      According to fleeing eye witnesses, a band of Kamajors entered the town of Sembehun on a Pampam boat from Gbangbatoke armed to the teeth with RPGs, AK-47s and other heavy weapons.
      The militiamen identified themselves as being on a mission for former Defense Minister Hinga Norman. According to the witnesses who included a medical officer, Dr. Lawrence, the leaders of these group of more than twenty (20) bandits were a Steve Sowa, Mustapha Sankoh and one Gbanako.
      The Kamajor bandits aggressively deployed on all key entry points to the town. Local farmers were ambushed and attacked for food and money. Eye witnesses say, the leaders of the attack on Sembehun took local chiefs, elders and wealthy residents to U.M.C. school where they demanded that the captives contribute money and food to the Kamajors.
      The Kamajor leaders told the captives that Alhaji Tejan Kabba has refused to give money to Hinga Norman. They further claimed that it was Alhaji Kabba who wrote and requested from President Charles Taylor, that Hinga Norman be arrested in Liberia.
      Other eye witnesses reported that residents of Shenge were from marched and their properties were looted. A car, with license plate WU 39997, belonging to a former member of parliament, Mr. Francis Cober, was seized by the bandits.
      Before the militiamen released some of their captives, they made it known to them that they were no longer fighting for the return of Alhaji Kabba because he has cheated them out of millions of dollars.
      The militia leaders said that while Alhaji Kabba was in Nigeria several months ago, General Sani Abacha gave him 2 million dollars to support the Kamajors. Instead, he gave the money to one of his wives, Mrs. Patricia Kabba, to buy a house in Maryland in the United States.
      The militia leaders accused Alhaji Kabba of being ungrateful. They said that he was no longer their leader. The only person they will take instructions from is Hinga Norman.
      AFRC wishes to inform Sierra Leoneans and the international community that while we are still committed to the Conakry Peace Agreement, we shall not tolerate these naked acts of banditry on the innocent civilians of our country. Our efforts have always been geared towards bringing lasting peace to Sierra Leone. Nothing will shake that resolve.
      Mr Allieu B. Kamara
      Public Relations Officer One
      Freetown, Republic of Sierra Leone

      1. Hi Jocone — thanks for your comment and just to note, we usually post just the link to documents rather than the full document itself for legal reasons on this site. Do you have a website link for this you might be able to share if you have a share moment?
        Very best,

    4. bnker,

      You are sounding like you are running a political campaign for an election. Sorry bro. This is not an election season, so, get out of that electioneering mood.

      Having said that, your comparison of Cuba being under sanction like Liberia, and sugan cane being Cuba only export, is like comparing Heaven and Hell.

      I will begin with Cuba first. THE BAY OF PIGS. Ladies and Gentlemen, for those of you who may not know what the Bay of Pigs means, I will elaborate just a little bit. However, The Bay of Pigs was an unsuccessful attempt by a CIA trained force of Cuban exiles to invade Southern Cuba with support from the US Government Armed Forces to overthrow Fidel Castro Government. In fact, that plan was launched in April 1961, just less than 3 months after President JFK inauguration.

      The Cuban Armed Forces trained and Equipped by EASTERN BLOC NATIONS, defeated the exile combatants in 3 days.

      Now, lets go to Liberia. President Taylor had no EASTERN BLOC NATIONS SUPPORTING HIM. If so, name one Bnker. Moreso, the fomer world’s super power, the former USSR, was supporting Cuba 100% in terms of fuel, weapons, moneys, protection, and etc. Besides, Cuba has a literacy rate of about over 90%, where as in contrast, Liberia has just about 10% literacy rate. Bnker, how can you compare these two countries giving all of the extenauting circumstances Liberia was plagued with by “Big Nations and the UN Security Council Resolutions upon Resolution with no help coming in from any big country. On top of that, two rebel groups fighting for creative control of Liberia. If President Taylor just had one big country on his side like Cuba, we will not be talking what we are talking right now.

      Just imagine, the entire world is supporting President Johnson Sirleaf government, with no war, or sanction on Liberia. Yet, we are lacking the basic social services. So Bnker, again, I question your objectivity.

      Speaking about the TRC and Brownie Samukai, Dr. Amos C. Sawyer, Dr. H. Boimah Fahnbulah Jr. and others, they need to be prosecuted in court about their role in the conflict. Especially man like Brownie Samukai, who was one of the Rebel Leaders, Sawyer, whose Interim Governement created this rebel group called Black Berat and whose administration 5 different rebel groups were formed.

      Bnker, why are you shielding these people. Let them go to court and clear their names. How hard is that?

      1. Hi Jose — just a quick reminder to all readers to keep our comments respectful towards others on the site, and just keep focused on the issues, yes?


      2. Jose,

        Thanks for your comment…..

        Ok, I will try to answer all your questions and especially your concern about what you might call my political ambition…I don’t want to hold political office…I am an advocate for the private sector…now you can breath better! shoosh!

        Your information about Cuba is to a large extend accurate. Cuba support by the so-called “eastern bloc” nations ended about 20 years ago. Moreover the price of sugar cane declined years before than. The relationship with Cuba and the eastern bloc countries was of “strategic interest” of national security. Today, Cuba is still under sanctions yet it strive. While I am convinced, I will never get you to see things my way and vise versa, I rest this argument.

        You said that CT didn’t have the support for the world unlike Ellen. Do you understand that this government inherited “void”…meaning nothing. There was no financial system, no legal system (at least it barked loud but never had teeth), the educational system is still subpar. The first thing is the press the reset button; it was already done. Our economy were making remarkable rebound then the unthinkable, its called “global recession”. I wish I had spoken to you about this earlier, I would have invited you to my speaking engagement when i was in Liberia. I talked about the Gloabl Crisis and its impact on the Liberian economy. Anyhow, I will give you a symnopsis, government only form of revenue is taxes (personal and business). While we have not seen much decline in personal taxes (except where govt chanaged it tax rate from 35 to 25 percent), we (as in Liberia the nation) have not been so fortunate with corporate taxes. Why most foreign direct investment (FDI) borrow money from the large banks like Citibank, Deutchbank, Royal Bank of Scottland etc. All these backs experienced serious setbacks from the mortgage meltdown. Banks revenue dwindled because mortgage holders payment slowed. This mean that banks liquidity (cash) became limited. To keep operating, banks refuse to lend to businesses. As a result, businesses cannot expand, no expansion means no hiring and no tax revenue for government. No tax means, slow implementing social services. Even though social service is lacking, let see, you had Taylor for years, no water, no light, burnt cars in the streets and I can go on…I am sure you took a mental picture of Monrovia when CT was in town. Ok, ready close your eyes and open now…see what I see, the cloud is gone and the sun shines over Liberia.

        To the TRC report, if the TRC decides to add BJ and Dr. Sawyer but for now they are not there. Because they are not, CT and the others don’t deserve to be placed on trial. I know these gentlemen like I know others who are on that list including Ben Urey, and Clarence Simpson. If TRC finds more evidence to place on the list well then be it…again, Liberia is greater than an individual or a group of individuals. I am of the strongest conviction that the TRC report is not detteriant…so if Mr. John Brown wants to stage a war, should be prosecute him too or let him go through a TRC, I say prosecute to the full letter….You said let them answer questions in court, I assume you mean Taylor and all others, right?

        Again, Jose, thanks for your post.

        1. Bnker — I read your post with intense interest, as always. You sounds like you are part of the diaspora community that is also working towards the reconstruction of Liberia post-war and I would love to read your speech on the Global Crisis and its impact on the Liberian economy — is it available online anywhere?

          I’m curious of your thoughts – and those of others — on the following: you have been a vocal advocate in this forum for a war crimes court in Liberia, and for Mr. Taylor being held to account for his alleged crimes in Liberia rather than just Sierra Leone. Do you have an analysis of what the economic impact of such trials might have for Liberia — ie is it possible that such trials might increase economic confidence in the Liberian economic and political future if the rule of law is seen to be operating in such a high profile way? Are there other economic benefits, or pitfalls for that matter, that you could see if the trials went ahead? Would your assessment be dependent on who might be indicted?

          Please don’t feel compelled to answer these many questions, Bnker — I was just interested in your opinion given your area of expertise. I hadn’t considered trials in Liberia from this economic impact angle before and thought you might be able to shed some light on it for me.


          1. Bnker – on reflection, I realized that asking for a link to your speech would automatically expose your identity to this forum. My apologies — I should have thought of this earlier. No problem, and don’t worry about the link. Apologies for not realizing it earlier — I was just so interested in what you had to say!


        2. Bnker,

          I did not tell you, I was concerned about your political ambition that precipitated your comment about holding political office, or your advocacy of private sector. Please don’t distort my statement.

          Concerning Cuba, your argument of comparing Liberia to Cuba, has been brutally defeated by me again. It is based upon the unprecedent massive informations provided to this audiece, that has compelled you to refrain for comparing the two countries. And abundoning your quest to rest your argument. Apparently, you thought, by talking about Cuba success in the midst of sanction, will prove that President Taylor has no guniune excuse since Cuba did it. However, when you were confronted with the facts, you decided to cave in. Thereby, retreating to resting of your argument.

          Now Liberia, I will just characterize this, by saying Bnker versus Bnker. Jose Rodriguez will not be providing anything new. Instead, I will use the same statement Bnker used on behalf of President Sirleaf for President Charles Ghankay Taylor when he was elected president of the Republic of Liberia. Eventhough, I will use the same statement that bnker used, but I will change the name Sirleaf to Taylor in some instances, and I will replace “global crisis to ” rebel war”. I will also pick and twig. My point here is to expose bnker excuse for Sirleaf who has the entire world’s support, no sanction, no war, foreign investors pouring in, foreign aid on the rise, no real propaganda, local or international, debt waiver, 15,000.00 UN troops providing security for the entire country, US government giving millions and training the military, and yet, we are lacking the same basic social services and living under the same condition with the absence of gun sounds under the other person who never had any of this opportunity.

          Bnker, do you understand that president Taylor government inherented “void”…..meaning nothing? There was no financial system, legal system, (at least a barked loud, but never had teeth), the educational system was still broken. The first thing is to press the reset botton. Our economy was making a remarkable rebound than the unthinkable. Its call “war” (LURD, MODEL, SANCTION,DENIAL TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, EMBARGO, AND ETC). I wish I had spoken to you about this earlier. I would have invited you to my speaking engagement, when I was in Liberia. I talked about war and its impact on the Liberian economy. Anyhow, I will give you synopsis. Government only form of revenue is taxes(personal and business).

          Bnker, you can not continue to convenient ignore the critical times of war in Liberia. It was real. it happened.

          Speaking about the TRC, It is like when you are pouring Holy Water or Oil into a bottomless pit full of demons. These demons are screaming and hollowing for fear that they are about to consume. Let the TRC come. But I want it to be fair. I want it to include all rebel leaders including Black Berat rebel leader Brownie Samukai, and their financiers. Bnker, I don’t know your age. But I am a very young man who wants our country back from all those trigger happy warmongers . And it will happen.

  5. Tracey the Great Gurd,

    What are you going to come up with for the nearly one month of inactivity. I know we will all be taking a winter/christmas break, but in the interim, we can keep the blog live. Could we get some legal analysts to answer some questions?

    1. Andrew — what a wonderful accolade!

      Yes, I would love to keep the conversation going here over the break as much as possible. Alpha and I have been contacting legal experts to try to get some commentary, but without luck so far. Don’t worry — we will keep trying.


      1. Please keep trying……from all the programs I have seen on this case, ALL EXPERTS and LAWYERS lean more towards the defense.

        It’s taking FOREVER for the court to put up the transcripts….can you ask whoever to speed up please…..Thanks

  6. Tracey,

    I do not know how busy you are today, but when you were away the discussion kind of skim through images of taylor arrest and transfer to the hague. Of interest was the situation of the shackles that were placed on Taylor’s feet.

    I was just wondering if you could research this, couple it with your experience and shed some light as to whether it is a standing practice in interanational justice to place shackles on arrested individuals? In domestic cases and custody, I have seen such, and may be it has been acceptable to the respective states. But at the international level, it signals a different image and interpretation.

    Your comments or that of an independent experts would be highly welcome.


    1. Andrew — an interesting question. Let me see what I can find for you from other tribunals too.

    2. Hi Andrew,

      Well, I have been doing some research into the high-level indictees at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia – Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic — but unfortunately I could not find photos or descriptions of either that described whether shackles or handcuffs were used. I did find out some details about the arrests though in case you are interested:

      On Milosevic, see, for example:

      On Karadzic — this story ( tells of his arrest on a bus where he was handcuffed, while this article gives some description of the actual process of his transfer to The Hague: Here are photos of the transfer though none showing whether Karadzic was shackled:

      I will contact a former investigator with one of these tribunals and try to get more information about the questions you asked.


  7. Ken and Big B,
    Stop rumbling and discuss the LBDI account bearing the name of Charles Taylor. We are waiting to hear your new excuses on this issue.

    1. Big Joe,

      What LBDI account do you want me to discuss? I wrote from my prospective and not from someone else’s. But to help you out, I am going to give you another view. Firstly, I couldn’t come to grip the rational behind Mr Koumjian’s line of questioning. It was beyond my understanding. Despite all of the confusions, I was able to ascertained two points Mr Koumjian tried to make. Let me address each one. First, Mr Koumjian tried to imply that the money in the LBDI account came from the mysterious mayonnaise jar with diamonds giving to President Taylor by Bockarie. Second, Mr Koumjian introduced into evidence a LBDI bank account allegedly bearing the name of Charles Taylor, debunking President Taylor’s testimony under direct examination that he (Taylor) had no personal bank account.

      If that is what Mr Koumjian tried to imply that the money deposited into the LBDI account came from SL diamonds, he’s dead wrong. The evidence introduced by Mr Koumjian showed all deposits made into the account were from GOL and Gus’s Company. I have forgotten the name of the company; I will come back to it. Borrowing a phrase from Mr Koumjian, he’s always coming back but never gets back. There were no other deposits made from another source. So, I didn’t see the rational behind Mr Koumjian’s questions. I just couldn’t understand from a legal stand point exactly where the prosecution was heading. To the contrary, if the deposits were made in cash or diamonds to say the least, than it would have been a slam dunk for the prosecution. Big Joe, are you with me? I am discussing the LBDI account per your request. President Taylor reiterated that the deposits made into the LBDI account by the GOL and Gus was nobody’s business. He’s only obligated to answer to the Liberian people. The prosecution rested her cross examination on the financial aspect of the fresh evidence ruling. There was no smoking gun.

      The 2nd confusing point that I tried to unscramble during Mr Koumjian’s cross examination was during direct examination President Taylor testified that he had no personal bank account, but in fact he did. Big Joe, just a reminder, President Taylor said that the LBDI account was covert owned by the GOL. The Country was at war. LURD had attached Liberia twice. Don’t forget, Liberia hands were tied; armed embargo was placed on the government, while GB and the US were COVERTLY supplying LURD with arms. The reason for the covert bank account was to deter leaks emanating from World Bank and IMF personnel working at the Central bank. President Taylor rightfully stated that government all over the world operates covertly.

      I posted a link about Reagan and the Iran arms deals. Big Joe you must have missed it. Let me link it for you again, perhaps this will give you a clear insight on how covert operation works.

  8. Madam,

    I just read a post under the above name and the person claimed to be an American Citizen.

    Well Madam it is welcoming for other nationals to take interest in liberian case. But as for americans I want to ask you when will your country stop destabilizing other people countries by supplying arms to surrogate forces who want to overthrow the government as they did in Charles Taylor’s situation. They supplied arms to Guinea rebel group called LURD. When will your country stop assassinating other country leaders who opposes Amreica policies and interest. Your country assassinated our beloved president William R. Tolbert. When will your country stop meddling in our country affairs. It is interesting that your country will support the trial of charles taylor for supplying arms to Sierra Leone despite a UN embargo on that country, yet America supplied arms overthrow taylor. interesting. Another thing Madam, when will america try all those american soldiers who allegedly abused iraqis in abhu grahab prison?

  9. Is it because the prosecution has lost its case that it is now trying to rely on impeaching Mr. Taylor’s testimony that has nothing to do with chopping off of limbs, rape etc etc. I don’t know where they want to go with this case. Did Charles Taylor build a squash court or swimming pool at his residence? Let’s be serious. The United States has contributed upward of $13,000,000 US to convict this man. The prosecution should be doing better.


  10. Brothers I know Taylor can lie according to you guys. What some people do not understand is the used of this account. The question some of you should be asking is did the National Legislature give him the right to open said account? The persecutors need to check with the legislature and see if they were not aware of said account. If they are not aware then Taylor lied to the court. Another thing is did the RUF made any deposit into that account? Did the persecutors show any proof that money from said account was used to buy arms for the RUF? Is this part of the five billions from the sale of diamond from Sierra Leone? Is this the account that was frozen by the UN the persecutors told us about? Did you guys listen to Taylor when he was asked why the money was put into that account? Did you guys understand the reasons?

  11. Joseph,
    By the grace of the almighty lord, the 13,000,000 will be usd o proof the devious plans the prosecution created just to put Mr. Taylor in trouble. Right now he has confused them. Their alleged new evidence will never make any diference in this case.. GOD BLESS TAYLOR AND HIS DEFENCE>>AMEN>

  12. JOCONE SAID: ”Noko6, If even Mr. Taylor had personal account opened in Liberia, does that support the prosecution case that Mr. Taylor order and commanded the killing of Sierra Leonean? Was any money deposited into this account by any company buying diamonds from liberia or Sierra Leone?
    There are AFRC press releases that speak alot about the Sierra Leonean situation; especially on the sale of Diamonds by former President Kabbah which led to the birth of the AFRC and I asked that you read this one!” – end quote:

    MY RESPONSE: First of all, Press Releases are not necessarily, factual evidence that can be used in a trial like these…you need solid, concrete evidence. Secondly, your attack on President Kabbah’s character is hearsay…President Kabbah is not on trial here, my friend.

    Back to the case…Taylor’s ”special” bank account is one of such concrete evidence because he claimed he had no money and challenged the court to prove him wrong. Taylor’s personal bank account (and that’s what the evidence shows) in Liberia showed that the Ex-President had access to money to fund his war in Sierra Leone. Taylor argued he had no money and challenged the court to provide proof…the LBDI account proved him wrong. His recent explanation on that LBDI Account, was a flimsy one, especially since he never disclosed to the court he operated a ”secret account in his personal name for covert purposes.” Kudos to the Prosecutor…now the world knows Taylor DID have access to cash, and lots of it!!

    What the prosecutors have done thus far, is to make sure that the Defense cannot just ”explain” away his sins and short comings throughout this life. An individual charged for arm-trafficking, also deposited $2 million in Charles Taylor’s personal account. Foreign government were depositing money into Taylor’s personal account. A person with a reasonable mind, can infer that Mr. Taylor was using the account at LBDI, to purchase arms on the black market admist an arm-embargo on Liberia…for the purpose of fueling the war in Sierra Leone.

    Finally, in my humble opinion the Defense should never have put Taylor on the stand…they should have simply challenged and discret the various Prosecutor witnesses. They failed miserably in that attempt….those Prosecutor witness damanged Taylor’s case. The Defense would have had enough room to make a solid argument in closing, telling those judges they decided not to put Taylor on the stand because the evidence were just not there to convict. Worst that could have happened, Taylor may have received a slap on the wrist. But with him now on the stand, and with all the finger pointing he did over the past several months, he left the doors wide open to be impeached step-by-step, evidence-by-evidence. The worst part about it, Mr. Taylor spoke in absolute terms as if he had a monopoly on the facts. The Prosecutors are proving otherwise…that the ex-president does not have total monopoly on the facts of this case. I suspect those 100-plus documents recently given the Defense, is loaded with land-mines.

    1. Noko6,
      The problem is that since you and the prosecutors have such weak evidence you grab for every straw. The international community had been saying Taylor had Billions stashed away in banks around the world. The question you should be asking is how much is in the L.B.D.I account now. For your info the account was closed. He is not denying the fact that he purchased arms with the money but you claim it was for the war in Sierra Leone. I differ and for us who were here in Liberia we know it was to help defend us. He would have been derelict in his duties as President if he did not try to defend Liberia. Secondly if this money came from diamond sales you would have a much stronger case. He explained where the money came from ie: Taiwan, Guss Kouenhoven ( who by the way was acquitted of war crime charges) and other internal sources. This trial is not about how he governed Liberia it is about Sierra Leone.

  13. Well! Well! Well! The word “DISAPPOINTMENT” can not adequately describe how I felt about the cross examination of former Pres.Taylor by the prosecution before the current break. I was expecting Taylor to be corner so bad, since the prosecution made so much big deal about this so-called new evidence. The Prosecution claimed they couldn’t go further unless this new evidence was accepted by the panel of judges, well it was, and all we heard was figures in the Millions, I thought it was suppose to be in the billions as the prosecutor lead us(world) to believe.

    I didn’t know someone who has billions could over-draw their account. The prosecutions own documents expose their lies because, that account should have been in the billions not 6 – 10 millions especially if those millions were deposited over a period of time. So where are the Billions from the sale of illegal diamonds as alleged? How come a billionaire will have a negative balance? The prosecution shot themselves in their own legs with those bank statements.

    The prosecution seems to be really struggling and it’s so obvious. They keep complaining about working long hours and being confuse about which document(s) to present, at the same time the judges keep warning them about mal-practices. Taylor was arrested about 4 plus yrs now, what really happen to all those evidence they claim to have collected over those period. Taylor is on the stand now and not a single “got-cha” question(s) has been asked that Taylor hasn’t convincingly shock-off. I keep waking up so early to watch this trial thinking today might be the day taylor will be corner, but to NO avail because there are No evidence to impeach him at all.

    Honestly, Taylor is on top of his game to say the least. The American style of confusing defendant by asking series of questions and categorizing them into one question is not working for the prosecution. They’re also deploying the repeated questioning tactic which taylor is stopping in its tracks. No wonder while the prosecution is struggling because trickery and deception are not working.

  14. Gyakabo,

    Your lenghty post worth commendation for the effort employ but it was devoid of substance. I will deal with it in few lines to indicate its emptiness. I should remind you that you requested comments. Here we go:

    1. As regards Bockarie presence in Liberia, documents have surfaced from the prosecution supporting Taylor claims that He(Taylor), Obassanjo and Kona Barre, met with Bockarie at Roberts Field and the three presidents told Bockarie that he was no longer going to stay in Sierra Leone. Secondly, they gave him the choice of Liberia or a third country.

    2. On the issue of the LBDI account, that document is immaterial to the charges in this case unless the money can be linked to diamonds from or arms for Sierra Leone.

    3. Mr. Taylor has challenge his accusers to produce current accounts as announced in their asset freeze. Yet we see some account that has been closed since 2001, 8 years ago. The account is not from some foreing bank but a bank in the country of the accused where he was president? Do banks in Liberia fall under the challenge Taylor advanced to the prosecutors?
    It is even preposterous for the United Nations to think of freezing accounts in the country that Taylor was President of.

    So your lenghty post is so valueless that it is waste.

  15. The most homorous part about this fake joy by Taylor’s haters is the fact that this very statement that they are using to show Taylor’s guilt was made right in this court. It was in this court that Taylor
    “challenge any human being on this planet to bring one bank account that I have money there. If anyone on this planet knows of any asset or bank account anywhere, I authorize you to come forward. There are no bank accounts in the world that I have. If anyone can bring any evidence that Charles Taylor has money in a bank account, then Charles Taylor is a liar,”

    So if Taylor made those statements in this court, and the prosecution has not brought forward a current bank account. Then how can any sane human hold a false view that Taylor lied and contradicted himself. Taylor was clearly speaking in the now, the current period, and all the prosecution can do is to engage in propoganda by bringing in yesteryears old bank statements. What does more than five years old bank statements has to do with the accusation that Taylor currently has BILLIONS IN FORIEGN BANKS?

    The prosecution continue to expose their personal hatred for Mr. Taylor and further suggests that they are bidding for those diamonds companies, and not seeking any justice. Give us a current bank account for the BILLIONS that Taylor is suppose to be having in BANKS AROUND THE WORLD.

    Why is the prosecution not providing us with the real evidence but engaging in emotional appeal?

  16. We heard lots of noise from all the anti Taylor folks about this new evidence; however, since the introduction of this so-called new evidence, they all have been mute. What’s going on, you guys should be in jubilation, anyway sorry for the disappointment as was expected. It’s apparent that this new so-called evidence is making the pro Taylor folks more active.

    Hey Alpha, I read your profile and it seems very impressive, congratulation for all those accomplishment. Since you’re indeed a season lawyer, I expect you to actively throw light on some of our comment as a lawyer. What are your views thus far? I know you’re doing your best to stay active but at the same time evenhanded. I m sure you have some legal opinion that you’ll like to share, so please throw us your view from the legal point of view. Please, you guys shouldn’t bring some So-called expert here that isn’t in tune with this case like you and Tracey

  17. Hi
    I really can’t understand this news document about Taylor. What is information does this so -called document contains? I strongly believe that this will cause much delay for the prosecution to continue the trial. Is it that all the information the court has is not sufficient to hang Taylor

    1. Stephen,

      your point is well taken. Don’t stop posting until Mr. Taylor is set free. Good post buddy.

  18. King Gray, I think you are way of the mark when it comes to this bank account. The indictment was serve more than five years ago and at that time this account was current, so you cannot suggest it to be “yesteryear”. I believe the prosecutuion has made it clear it does not intent to use this document to proof guilt but rather to impreach his credibility, in my mind there should be no issue here.

    of course they(prosecution) have to play by the court rules.

    1. Eagle-eye(Returns), even if we go by your logic , the prosecution still missed the mark. The indicment was issue in 2003 and that account was already close by that time according to what we heard in this court. Except I am wrong, but the key issue here is not about a bank account in Liberia but the billions that the prosecutor say that Mr. Taylor had in foriegn banks.

      The prosecutor case was not about Taylor having bank accounts in Liberia but they made a case that Taylor had billions in foriegn banks. So let them show us the billions in foreign banks, this is the issue at bar.

      1. King,

        Correction, it is neither about bank account at LBDI or $5B stached away, its about finding evidence that links any account to RUF (which contributed to the alleged atrocities). The prosecution has the burden of proof on this…maybe there is something, but for now, nothing. We shall see what happens this new year.

      2. King Gray,

        In addition your post, by the way, it was a spectacular post, just so you know. Anyway, the point I was trying to make was, there was and still an asset freeze list by the UN of which President Taylor name is on. If there was any money in that account, the money should/could have been seized and used later, as evidence to the prosecution advantage in this “not so perfect court.”.

        Eagle Eye, where is the money? Brother, the whole thing is a scheme by these guys. There is no mony and they know it. Eye, if there was money, don’t you think it would have been brought long time ago?

  19. Tracey/Alpha,

    can the prosecution bring a brand new witness to testify on their behalf, since they have being granted to present their so_ called “fresh and new evidence? Remember now, they have already rested their case.

  20. Braking News From Liberia: December 1,2009; Justice for Country- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Recommendation for an Internationalized Domestic War Crimes Court. I think this is a giant step toward justice in Sub Sahara so criminals can, forever say goodbye to Lawlessness and glorification of notorious criminals! Here is an excert of the article below;
    One of the key recommendations included in the final report is the establishment of an internationalized domestic criminal court to ensure justice for the worst crimes committed. Human Rights Watch fully supports the use of a hybrid international-national accountability mechanism to hold perpetrators of past crimes in Liberia to account. Prosecutions for serious crimes in violation of international law-including war crimes and crimes against humanity-are crucial to ensuring redress for the countless victims of Liberia’s brutal armed conflicts. Liberian citizens were subjected to horrific abuses, including summary execution and numerous large-scale massacres, widespread and systematic rape and other forms of sexual violence, mutilation and torture, and large-scale forced conscription and use of child combatants. The violence blighted the lives of tens of thousands of civilians, displaced almost half the population, and virtually destroyed the country’s infrastructure. Prosecutions are vital to building respect for the rule of law, especially in a society like Liberia that has been devastated by conflict, thus making justice an important component to establishing sustainable peace.

    Human Rights
    I would like to hear from tylor loyalists what they think about this suggestion since they have presented themselves not only as patriots but defenders of justice! Let me hear from you before I say more! Jfallahmenjor

    1. Fallah,

      Human Right Watch request of asking the Liberian government to investigate and prosecute individuals for war crimes, makes me to wonder. How can President Johnson Sirleaf prosecute herself? How can kabana J’ana, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the Republic of Liberia, and a notorous LURD REBEL LEADER, prosecute himself? How can Senator Prince Johnson, INPFL REBEL LEADER, who defied anyone to put hands on him in Liberia for prosecution and even threatened full skill war if THAT EVER HAPPENS? How can Brownie Samukai, Defence Minister and BLACK BERAT REBEL LEADER, PROSECUTE HIMSELF. How can Congressman Edwin Snow sign unto his own prosecution? And the list goes on and on. Liberia is not Sierra Leone. Why do you think President Sirleaf is finding every reason and weaselly excuse not to come even close to that TRC report? Like I always say, they will be a victim of their owm trap and it is happening right before all of us eyes.

      Human Right Watch, GOOD LUCK WITH REQUEST.

  21. Fallah,

    I do not support any so-called war crime court for Liberia. The reason is simple. The intent will not be justice, but a vandetta. There is a lot to say on this but I will start briefly and continue later. What guarantee do we have that intent of the establishment of this court will not be sole based on retribution? Will this be a withch haunt? What specific categories of crimes will fall under the jurisdiction of this court? Who will determine what crimes fall into which category? Who will grant the authority for the establishment of this court. Is a recommendation from the TRC sufficient? All ready we have seen the TRC issuing pardon to and exonerating other individuals. Who grants the TRC the mandate to exempt someone from prosecution? According tot he TRC, some individuals were remorseful therefore deserving pardon. The question is had Taylor appeared and was remorseful, would he have been granted such pardon or exenoration? What was the yardstick used?

    Fallah, in short there are some many i’s to dot and t’s to cross. Fallah, as I said I will post something addressing my views on some of the quest mentioned above. for now I believe you will begin to convince yourself that it will be an uphill task.

    1. Fallah menjor,
      One question. Are you actually rejoicing over this recommendation with your whole heart?? Remember it is also against MAMA ELLEN….haha!!

  22. Tracey Darling, I thank you most profusely for granting me sufficient space to express myself. I’m grateful to you for also removing the address I inadvertently included in my post. I’ll be more careful in future. I’m also very grateful that you appreciate what I’m trying to do, in that, in dealing with the evidence as it unfolds, one has to refer to previous evidence. You see, when it suits them, the Taylorites will refer to evidence previously given by Prosecution witnesses and scream, “Liars!”, “Hearsay!”, etc. Tracey, you can bear me out – there is nothing I said in my last post that had not arisen from the proceedings of 7 December. If that is not current, then what is? The problem with the Taylorites is that they thought after the lengthy “tales of woe” that were spewed out by Charles Gyankay Taylor, that was the end. I cautioned them to wait for cross-examination, but they would not listen. If you try to be analytical and refer to the evidence on record, they accuse you of wasting their time by “copying” and “pasting”. Tracey, I’m sure you agree with me that a very important objective of this site is for us to educate each other on this very historical trial based on analysis of all the evidence and other related sources.

    Since the explosive evidence was led on the personal account of CGT at LBDI and what possible uses it could have been put, the Taylorites have come out with all sorts of ridiculous and preposterous explanation. Some of them say, “Taylor dared them to come out with personal accounts he “HAS” not “HAD”. They say, “You spoke about Billions but now, what is MILLIONS in a single account?” Some ask, “What has the money in the personal account of CGT in Monrovia got to do with supply of arms and ammunition to RUF?’ Tracey, please give me time and space to debunk their corrupt and bogus assertions.

    Why is the evidence of this personal account, and CGT’s wealth in general, so important? One person who, I think, has shown proper appreciation of what is going on is Noko6 in his post above. You see, when the Chief Prosecutor spoke about the massive wealth of CGT, he was trying to show CGT had the MEANS and CAPABILITY to prosecute his personal agenda of greed and aggrandizement of power. Let’s face it, the Republic of Liberia NEVER officially declared war on Sierra Leone, Guinea or Cote d’Ivoire. If there is proof of CGT clandestinely backing any of the warring factions in any of these countries, he must have done so out of inordinate personal ambitions. He couldn’t therefore go to the Liberian Legislature and obtain the budget or authorization for such purpose. It is in a desperate attempt to show that he did not have the MEANS and CAPABILITY to prosecute the agenda that are being alleged in the Trial, that is made him, at every opportunity, to scream, ” I became President of a country whose economy was ravaged by war, where will I find the means to support a faction of a conflict in another country? I was solely occupied with reconstruction of Liberia; what was happening in Sierra Leone was not of my business!”

    When Mr. Kuomjian began his cross-examination of CGT on 7 December, he laid the foundation by referring to portions of CGT’s evidence, parts of which have been quoted by others in their posts. There are, however, other pieces of CGT’s evidence that answer the positions taken by our friends, the Taylorites that he ought to have referred to. Please refer to the evidence CGT gave on 3 August, pages 25847-25848 of the transcripts. Permit me to quote him: “I have heard the Chief Prosecutor of this Court talk about monies of Taylor. I challenge him again here today in this Court that he is Chief Prosecutor, bring ONE bank account. Bring any evidence from any financial institution. There is none. Let the gentleman come forward and say, “well, here is an account belonging to Charles Taylor. HE HAD IT, BUT EVEN HE CLOSED IT YEARS AGO.” Bring anything!”

    Noko4, Jose Rodriguez, et al, do you now have your answers? You don’t need any English teachers beyond your Papay to teach you, “Has” and “Had”. There is a even a more poignant evidence. Again, with permission, I quote (page 25847): “The issue of money, having it or not having it, is about ten years now. I was still President of Liberia when I was accused of amassing billions. I went on the national radio and I announced to the Liberian people – I said to them if any human on this planet earth goes to any bank anywhere in the world and brings ONE BANK ACCOUNT OF $100,000 BELONGING TO CHARLES TAYLOR, I SAID I WILL RESIGN THE OFFICE OF PRESIDENT. It’s been ten years. I’ve heard the United Nations has passed asset freeze, all these things. All these asset freeze, what bank account have the United Nations ever come up with and said, oh, guess what, here is a former bank account of Charles Taylor or here is what is in it”.

    Exactly ten years ago, to the day, whilst Charles Taylor looked into the impoverished, long-suffering eyes of the good Liberian people and told this blatant lie, he had opened a personal account at LBDI which he was busily operating with his LOVER, Kadiatu Diarra. I’m happy that, so far nobody has attempted to deny what everybody in Liberia knows about the true nature of the relationship between Taylor and Kadiatu. As I said in my last post, a hint of the relationship inadvertently fell out of the lips of CGT himself in a needless, unprovoked fashion. As it is said, “A person who eats the heads of monkeys hallucinates over them”!

    Now, what was the need to open and operate this personal account at the relevant time and what is the linkage between it and the charges CGT is facing at The Hague? The answers are not difficult to find and again, they are in the evidence CGT himself. Thus far, one point of agreement between us all is that the account was needed to procure arms and ammunition. But the million dollar question is, for WHO and for WHAT? At the time the said account was opened in December 1999, Liberia was in NO dire or immediate danger for the need to resort to the extraordinary means of operating a covert account. Please look at page 33116 of the 7 December transcript. The following exchange took place:
    Q. Sir, December 1999, did LURD even exist with that name as organisation?
    A. No, not that I know of.
    Please continue to read on for the rest of Taylor’s convoluted reply. So, if the said account was being used to procure arms and ammunition. as admitted by Taylor and his Taylorites, then, by logical reasoning, inference and deduction, they must have been acquired for who and where they were needed most and that was the RUF in Sierra Leone! Don’t let us forget the evidence that has been given by scores of Prosecution witnesses that, just about the same time, they were busy ferrying arms and ammunition from that warehouse behind Taylor’s residence, White Flower, for the RUF in Sierra Leone. The evidence of the personal account is corroborative of his MEANS and CAPABILITY to stock and restock the warehouse. He was not as indigent as he always claims. Charles Taylor may have many powers but I dare say, he is no prophet for him to have foreseen what was to happen in the future, in late 2000 or early 2001, for him to start stockpiling arms and ammunition to fight the onslaught by LURD and others. There is yet another cogent reason for the account and that also leads to RUF. It was just about the same time that he brought Sam Bockarie and his horde of brigands to Liberia whereby he unlawfully granted them citizenship and inducted them into his notorious and abominable private army, ATU. Of course, he needed local cash – and mind you, the more than $14m that went in and out of the account is not small by any account, especially in 1999-2000 – urgently to meet the pressing exigency. He admitted so much in his evidence on 7 December. And, guess what, who was the Pay Master/Mistress to fork out a minimum of $300 monthly for each RUF in ATU? It was the loyal, indomitable Kadiatu Diarra!!!!

    1. Gyakabo — thanks for sharing your thoughts on this issue. Yes, indeed, I agree that this site is indeed here for people to debate the issues arising at trial and to bring different information and perspectives into the forum for us to consider when we reflect on the trial.
      Very best,

  23. Wow, a move by the Liberian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on “take it or leave it” on the increament of price for a Liberian Passport to US$50 seems to be a clever move to address the rampant passport corruption under the NPFL Government of yesteryears! Read this:
    Many poor people-including civil servants who make about US$80-are constrained to pay US$50 for the new Liberian passport or forfeit it between now and April 2010.

    Liberians have decried the high price of the new machine readable passports, but the Foreign Ministry says the price remains unchanged.

    “This whole thing is like a take-it-or-leave-it situation. It means you are compelled to spend the US$50 to get the new passport or keep the money and forfeit the passport,” a Foreign Ministry official whispered yesterday, right after Foreign Minister Olubanke King-Akerele addressed a news conference.

    Great move Honourable, let all holding old passports get bona fide new passports! What’s your take Jose? Help me here Patriots!

    1. Menjor,
      I am sure you know the difference between the two passport. Did you know that all countries are not being compelled to use the new biometric passports? While the price of the passport is $50.00, it cost the government more to produce the new ones because of the advanced technology accompany the new ones. I will give you an example, I was on my way to Jamaica, and everyone is swipping their passport and I go to swipe mine, the lady says, “baby this passport don’t work that way”, the new biometric passport will expedite check-in process and reduce theft since finger printing has to be done and stored in a database. So Lebanese, Nigerians, Ghanians who are not Liberians will no longer have access to our passports. It reduces theft….some countries treat Liberian like crap as a result of criminals holding our account. I was in Italy and there were two guys, I knew were not Liberians, but had Liberian passport….they were arrested though.

      But that’s neither here or there, so Menjor what do you recommend that the govt does, especially when its revenue projections are down several million dollars as a result of the crisis? Shooot, that passport that is $50 in Liberia will be about $150 here (I am guessing). To renew passport in the states is about $75 whereas, its $25 in Liberia. I applaud your concern and encourage you to voice your opinions. So if CT was president and this happened how many will protest or voice their opinions without Chuckie and his boys paying you a visit? Oh yea, sorry some of us like living in these conditions. I remembered that young man forced himself in my car in Liberia and said take me to Mamba Point (when he was at CWA). Fortunately for me, his rebels compatriots came and he jumped in the “Nissan Patrol” SUV. That kid is a monster! But then the saying goes, the “acorn don’t fall far from the tree” either.

      1. Yes, bnker, I am glad you mentioned about Liberian passports not only being issued to liberians but to others that were not intended to use. However, this was the reality in taylor’s NPFL government! He sold everything that brought him quick revenue!
        Now that Sirleaf Government is addressing this Passport issues, we will have only Liberians carrying Liberian passports,period! Taylor may have to find other source of quick money when he returns from the Hague according to his loyalists!

      2. bnker,

        What does President Taylor have to do with this passport discussion? I don’t know what it is. But Taylor left Liberia almost seven years ago. However, I am quite show, passport issued during his administration is no longer value as a result of expiration and the continue changing and updating of passport with different requirements.

        The incident that you said you experienced with this “monster kid” was very unfortunate. I personally experienced the same, when I was in Liberia last year. I was at Eco Bank, and I saw older people mostly women, sitting in wheel chairs in front of the bank. These our mothers were begging for money to buy food and eat, because they were hungry. I felt compassion for them. And so, I started giving them at least $100.00 LD each. Some group of young boys, probably around 17- 24 rushed on me demanding money from me. I told them that I did not have money. I was threatened, they used the “F” word, they said, they are just waiting for any lay problem in Liberia, they will kill me and “all the big government people that’s stealing their money; and this time around, nobody will run away.” However, I was with my junior brother, who also defied them to put hands on me. While walking to the car that brought me to the bank, they ran ahead of me and held the car door thereby, denying me access to entry. They said, if I don’t give them money like the old people, they will stab me and I will not go. While they and my junior brother were talking, other bystanders intervene, telling them, the man is not force to give you guys money, even if he was dividing money to the disadvantage. In few minutes, they walked away cursing and making more threats. I got in the car and left.

        So bnker, there is a series of serious problems in Liberia. We all need to work very hard and help rebuild our country and don’t allow the divide and rule method to work on us.

        1. Jose,
          Thanks….and you know this must truely the the Christmas seaon, we are giving out compliments and good news of great joy—kidding…thanks bro.

          The passport thing, I suggested that it started way before Taylor; it actually started during the Doe administration.

          You said I called Chuckie, “Monster kid” with no regrets and I will say it several more times and maybe amplify it. Do you think its normal some of the things that Chuckie did or alleged to have done? No person with the respect of human life and dignity do things that only expected from animals. It’s not rationale, no way.

          I understand your empathy for the ladies who have been turned to beggars and I acknowledge that we have a problem about the younger generation. See, I hate to go back to all the rebel leaders, but where do you think these children come from. Those who threaten you life because you refuse to give them something that belongs to you…they are products of Taylor, Kromah, Johnson, PYJ, Conneh, Boley, F. Massaquoi and all factional leaders. The sad thing about this is that they are waiting and hoping for an outbreak. That’s why we who technically should know better need to understand that while we seek to push our individual political agenda, if we make a mis-step we do it at our peril. The Liberia that some of us love so much will be thrown back into war. That’s why I don’t equate NO ONE person or group to Liberia. As earlier mentioned Liberia is greater than Taylor, Ellen, all rebel leader and political figures, Liberia is equal to the 3.4 millions who are accounted for in the census report and some of us who are living in the USA and other places; those of us who refuse to become American citizen because some feel as though we are betraying their land. We have our work cut out for us. If Liberia is thrown again into war, “I pray never again”, but if it is, it’s no longer the indigeneous versus the Americo-Liberians, the Islanders and recaptured Africans all classified as “Congos” its going to be against the locals and those who left the states for Liberia. So, you, me and everyone who has been somewhat exposed has a responsiblity to Liberia. When I was doing my speaking engagements in Liberia, people asked me why, I said, every Liberian has a moral responsibility to this country. Some will make it in government post, others will engage in business, for now, I elected to transfer knowledge.

          But yea, the problem is hugh. We have a generation that is basically unlettered. You have a dying breed of politicians who have ruin Liberia and still believe they can charter our course in the right direction. Frankly, they can’t. You cannot get someone with the same old tired ideas and expect them to come up with new ones, especially when they are not exposed or cannot think “outside the box”,; it’s not happening. You and I will not agree on this, but Taylor the guy you called the most popular politician is responsible for those guys threatening you. He provided them guns while they were barely 5 years old (that’s a fact). So you have kids who fought from 5 years, and 14 years later, you expect them to automatically become productive members of society? We have our work to do. It’s unfortunate that you were confronted with this, almost the mob. These are the products of Mr. Taylor and his friends (meaning the other rebel leaders).

          You know what Jose, we might disagree but at the end of the day, I am sure you love Liberia just as much as I do. We might see things from the left or the right, but the focal point is the same, a brighter and better Liberia for you and your children. Happy Holidays brother and be blessed….After New Years we can fight again…kidding, mehn.

    2. Fallah,

      There is no such thing like NPFL government. At least, there was a NPP led government. There is a distinction between the NPFL and NPP. Fallah, the NPP has left power for almost seven(7) years. So, deal with the current reality and government of today.

      Concerning the new Passport issue, that you talked about, I do not know of any detailed information on the topic. However, I recognize President Johnson Sirleaf as the ligitimate president and head of a constitutional government. Subsequently, if there issuance of the new Passport falls within the confines of the laws, I support it 100%. Fallah, I believe in the rule of law. That is why I frowned on the illegal process that led to the indictment, arrest, and prosecution of this innocent man in the Hague today.

      1. Thanks Jose, at least we can agree on one thing “that Madame Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is legitimate head of Liberian Government today” and that the passports issue is not only grave to how individuals carrying Liberian Passports have been perceived at ports of entry in other nations, but an embarassement, when especially some carrying these passports are not Liberian nationals in the first place! This is what happens to any Government, left unchecked,and run by criminal elements of society! Liberia lost considerable respect overseas all because of Gankay Taylor’s greed for power and personal wealth!

        1. Fallah,

          whether you like it or not, Taylor is one of the best presidents Liberia has ever had. I thought we should be talking about Sierra Leone.

        2. WAIT A MINUTE! I am reading correctly, you all are in agreement….LOL….keep the conversation alive gentlemen!

      2. Jose and Fallah,

        The theft of passport started way before Charles Taylor. This thing started during to Doe administration. Not everything and everywhere we go wrong we can place it at the man’s feet….he has enough mess that he’s created…so let’s take this one off the papay yah….Doe owns this one!

    3. Fallah Menjor,
      I would have really been happy if the revenue increment was going to benefit Liberia. Trust me, that passport increment is mostly going to benefit somebodys’ pocket.. That’s a goverment that is popularly know for stealing and misuse of public know that..

  24. I think the liberian people should seriously consider the TRC recommendations and this should include the establishment of court.
    By the way Andrew, there are already international standards in place which defines must of the crimes which are likely to feature in any such court. I don’t believe this will be some kind of Kangaroo court where the rules are made up as they go along. There clear definition of most crimes including crimes against humanity.

    Beside this should send a clear message to the world and the liberian people that the days of impunity are nearing and all shall be accountable for their action, especially in their conduct of operations/duties which could have profound effect the well being of their human. Liberian should be brave enough to break this taboo and ensure that all are accountable.

    1. Eagle…, I need to call you “bulls eye”! Amen! This is what I have been saying, if nothing is done now, what will discourage anyone from doing something stupid tomorrow? Remember, Liberia is a fertile ground for chaos, we have one of the highest levels of unemployment in the world, the 5 smallest economy in africa, high illiteracy, and still many boys hoping for someone to redeem them by starting wars. Some people were fortunate to expire without court procceding, Julu being one of them; but we cannot afford for all to die, we have to send a strong now!

    2. Eagle,
      I just don’t understand the excitement over this whole TRC thing. Look most of you guys think this is a trap to catchTaylor after this nonesensical case. Remember town, trap is not for rat alone. That trap you are advocating, may catch even you, so lets be carefull here. I think people should be actually thinking about how Liberia is loosing her crdibility on the front of governance and accountabilitywhich is reflecting bad economic leadership in the international community. Remeber guys, this is what brought our country to her knees to day… Leave Taylor alone and please advice MAMA ELLEN….

  25. Tracey,
    Thanks, and I will answer your questions. I have portions of your thread this is meant to help guide me in answering.

    The presentation were lecture series at the universities.

    Do you have an analysis of what the economic impact of such trials might have for Liberia — ie is it possible that such trials might increase economic confidence in the Liberian economic and political future if the rule of law is seen to be operating in such a high profile way?

    While I do not have numbers on the impact economically, I hope to provide you explanations and reasoning that will justify my speculation (until I do research on other countries that have gone through similar situations). Investors will agree individual country’s risk is hight on making capital budgeting decision; political, judicial, economical and financial risk. The basic necessities needed to attract investors is a stable political system couple with a strong judiciary. Most businesses will not engage a country if the legal system is crippled. The reason is obvious, businesses want a guarantee that there is recourse for them in a competent court. This administration (EJ-S) was on track with that when it attempted to prosecuted Mr. Bryant, of course we know what happened, cased dismissed. Again, an attempt to prosecuted Charles Julu, also a lapse in legal expertise led to acquittal. Now to position for war crimes court, a court will send a signal to the business community that Liberia is here to serve your interest as well as to protect lives and property. Prosecuting the rebel leaders and implementing the TRC report signals to the world that Liberia is a land of laws and not men or women, but laws. You are from Australia, why don’t people go out and get away with murder? Simple, your judicial system rewards law breakers richly too. As a result of your and other countries’ vibrant legal system, yours and other economic systems are much better than countries that are volatile (in absence of the recent crisis). So prosecution send a message to future distracters, but also stablizes our political system and attract foreign investment. Again, I don’t know the monetary implications, but its will me substantial. As I mentioned countries risks are monitored by several organizations and poltical risk is highest because it sets the direction of the others. Weak political system signals higher risk. A strong legal system assists in reducing fear for investing. For example, the US still considers Liberia high risk. Most companies investing in Liberia are mainly European countries. There are few exceptions Bob Johnson investments which are insured by OPIC (Overseas Private Invesment Corporation) and The Soro’s sponsored Liberian Business Development Services Center, yet, they have limited they investment in Liberia. When stabilized (with a better global economy), businesses will flock to Liberia, jobs will be created, standard of living will increase, crime rate will drop, but, this can only happen if we have political stability and the precursor is prosecution of the trouble makers. It’s interesting that you mentioned this, because I am completing a research now where I mentioned political risk, judicial enforcement as stepping stone for Liberia. This government also acknowedges this in its Poverty Reduction Strategy Papper (PRSP), the pillars can basically be summed into four, security, strong judiciary, infrustracture and basics (light, water etc).

    Are there other economic benefits, or pitfalls for that matter, that you could see if the trials went ahead? Would your assessment be dependent on who might be indicted?

    Benefits I listed in the previous paragraph.

    You know Tracey, every action, there are consequences or results from them. A studious person expects to make good grades, even a criminal expects to get caught someday and the remafications are something lethal especially in Liberia. There are abvious pitfalls, but I think the rewards far exceeds the shortcomings.

    While it saddened me that Ellen was named in the TRC report (and I love her as a leader), we have to set standards for our political leadership. Do I blame her for her initial support for CT, no. If I was in her position would I have done same, probably! Ellen in my opinion is the only person on that list that might have a direct impact (financially for the short term) on Liberia, though miniscule, but the longer term benefits far exceeds the short term cost. Besides the World Bank and IMF have changed their lending strategies, monitoring programs must be in place and programs geared toward poverty reduction and reaching the MCG are mandatory.

    We need to think strategically, not technically.

    Tracey, thanks.

    1. Hi Bnker,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to share your analysis on this with us. It seems even just from an economic perspective, there are potentially significant benefits to pursuing prosecutions.

      In terms of pitfalls, I have heard one economic and technical argument against the creation of hybrid courts in other countries — that is, a fear exists that the investment of money into a hybrid court (which is expensive) may take away money and resources from the national courts which are in dire need of money, attention and resources, particularly in the aftermath of war. I agree that is a valid fear. However, I also think that is one that can be addressed, at least partially, if the concept of legacy (that is, crudely put, the idea that the national legal system should tangibly benefit in the short and long-term from the existence of a hybrid court in the country – but in the process, also benefits the hybrid court itself) is effectively factored in to the planning and ongoing operation of any hybrid court. The Special Court for Sierra Leone, for example, made a number of legacy-related efforts during its lifespan, but this was an unknown and unchartered concept when the Special Court started — much more could be done if the notion of legacy is integrated into the planning and operations of a new hybrid court from the start. This includes efforts such as requiring hybrid court staff to give trainings in international laws and procedures for national system lawyers (and as was the case in the Special Court, training for other court staff too, such as translators in techniques such as simultaneous translations which met international standards; or training for people from the registries of the national courts in international standards of file and case management techniques; or prison guards from the national prisons who, like at the Special Court, rotated through the Special Court’s detention facility to be trained in international standards of detaining indictees and ensuring their rights as accused or convicted persons are respected); ensuring that Liberian prosecutors and defense attorneys who work on criminal matters domestically have the opportunity to also work at the hybrid court, so that at the end of their tenure, they can return to the national system with a different set of skills and knowledge from working on international criminal law trials (while also bringing domestic knowledge of laws, procedures and context to benefit the hybrid court); and that the staff and judges at the hybrid court both (1) teach classes in international criminal law and procedure to national university law students and (2) regularly exchanged ideas and practices, as well as regularly discussed legal issues with the national bar association and judges, so both the hybrid court and the national system could benefit from the mutual exchange of ideas and respective expertise. These are just a few examples, and indeed there are many things to factor in when thinking through potential legacy efforts, including implementation and lasting impact. One issue is the need to think through ways to create meaningful (economic and possibly other) incentives for national staff at hybrid tribunals to go back to benefit the national system after they have finished work at the hybrid court — in the case of the Special Court, for example, a number of Sierra Leonean translators told me that they wanted to go and work for international NGOs or the UN when they finished at the Special Court because they now had the skills and experience to meet international standards, and the salaries were much better with the UN or international NGOs than in the national legal system in Sierra Leone. If this happens, then the hybrid court will have unintentionally operated to direct well trained national staff away from the national system, not just for the years that they worked at the hybrid court, but potentially for the years afterwards (though perhaps these staff may eventually return to the national system years down the track). Finding ways to make a return to the national legal system as attractive as possible should also be part of the planning and implementation of a legacy program at a hybrid court. In any case, this is an issue that is clearly very challenging for any court planners to think through, and will require a lot of effort to be done really well. But that should not deter anyone from trying…….


      1. Tracey,
        Sorry for the delay. I actually started and mistakenly pushed something and it disappeared and in my frustration put it off for some days. I concur with your reasoning about broading the horizons of our legal practicians in Liberia. Such an endeavor provides them the opportunity to view things from an international at the same time domestic prospective. It also allows them to integrate the internation components to our legal system in Liberia.

        As you rightfully included the views of those who think that resources for the war crime courts in Liberia would be expensive and funding could be redirected to national development. Today in the development arena, monies for projects are exclusively for those purpose. For example, you have the war crime court of Sierra Leone, financial resouces for this court comes from donor nations or mostly from donor nations and not the SL government, am I correct? Therefore, donor and other institutions will have funds only for those purpose and not to be redirected for other projects. At times some of the resouces have come in form of experts. For example the American Bar Association (ABA) have legal experts in Liberia provding technical assistance for the legal profession. They are not to be used for other purposes. During one of my research, I emailed a member of the ABA in Liberia about some legal issue with business in Liberia. While the individual directed me to the proper resource, the person clearly stated that my question was not within their scope of responsibility. My point is this, resource for a court, say for to prosecute war crimes in Liberia will not be funneled or redirected. I am not saying I have full confidence in the GOL, but the donors will ensure that their tax dollars go toward the allocated venture.

        Further, I don’t believe in a nation of handouts, Liberia is a wealthy nation, but we lack proper resource manangement and financial oversight. We shouldn’t be living off handouts, they eventually expire. There is a Ghanian saying, “give me a fish and you feed me for the day; show me to fish and you feed me for life”. Rather than financial resources, we need technical assistance, scholarships. For example, I have a cousin who works for BHP. He was recently granted a scholarship by the Australian govt, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. These are the assistance that Liberia need…that’s thinking long term.

        I however agree with the premise that we need to strengthen our legal system for all crimes. Though I support this govt (Ellen Johnson’s), I am also in full support of prosecuting those who hands were caught in the “cookie jar”. Unchecked corruption gave rise to the war. Unless the “nip it in the bud”, we might be heading down a slippery slope. We would show the world that we’ve learned nothing. Then those innocent 250,000 civilians would have died FOR NOTHING! One would think that I lost my family from my strong advocacy stance, no! Those who lost their lives are no less important than my father or mother (who are both very much alive and well).

        1. Bnker — thank you for your thoughtful reply, as always. Your thoughts on scholarships and technical assistance are particularly interesting because they speak to long-term investments in Liberia’s most valuable resource (its people) as a key method of reconstruction in the financial, legal and governance areas.

          It prompts me to ask, perhaps as an extension of the question that you asked a few days ago that Jose rightly referred to as “brilliant” — though we usually think of reconstruction efforts as a project of governments and donor states, can we reframe our points of reference? That is, are there ways that individuals in the Liberian diaspora (and/or others, including non-Liberians) can help promote reconstruction in Liberia, including through this kind of effort that you have outlined in your comment (eg scholarships or other forms of opportunities or assistance for Liberian law students or young legal professionals, for instance, or for those who are in or want to go into the financial industry/private sector like yourself)? I am sure people in this forum would have many great ideas about how this can/whether this should happen (and indeed, can shed light on efforts that are already happening at the individual level in Liberia on this front). It also seems the TRC discussions actually provide a good jumping-off point for discussions of this sort to be taking place informally in forums such as this, even as the formal recommendations are being discussed by the parliament in the new year?

          In any case, thanks for sparking this conversation, Bnker, and creating space for us to approach this issue and these ideas of reconstruction, including the domestic criminal justice sphere, from different angles.


  26. Tracey,

    Frankly, there many Liberians both at home and abroad who are trained in various disciplines, some of which have already returned home from the “Diaspora”. Others are still on the fence, waiting and watching and still not convinced that Liberia is safe for them and their families. While they are contemplating the move, others are concerned family safety, educational system for their children, health facilities and life insurance. Yet, others are faced with the dilemma of leaving their families and working in Liberia, a thought that is unbearable for some. Still, others are willing to contribute through the private sectors, and some education. I former schoolmate who is a coastal and environmental engineer with the US Navy volunteered his service to Liberia. I personally have donated over 100 thesauruses to two universities (just in case others are wondering if they were donated books, no I purchased and shipped them to Liberia). We (Liberians), as I mentioned in one of my threads have a moral responsibility to this nation. There are many Liberians who refuse to become US citizens because they still believe in a better Liberia. I know a gentleman who has been in the US for over 30 years and refuses to change allegiance.

    We have people who are willing, but the environment is still not considered stable (the troublemakers many of which still walk freely and are called, “honorable”. I remembered on my first trip to Liberia after many years, it was depressing. We made no progress, we literally digressed. I was offered a position and refused. I spoke to my wife who was in the States and she asked, how I liked being back, I told her I wanted to leave and never return. Thank goodness, I had a change of heart. On each of my trips I studied and researched, and learned new things and opportunities about Liberia; I love her more as the days expire. Some might think I am delusional. I have stated that I am a private sector advocate, and I have done researches on the Liberian banking sector and completing another on private sector investment. Further, I have done proposal for inventory management system of this government. However, I also believe in transferring knowledge to others. That’s how we move forward.

    These are bnker’s approach, however there are many avenues that have been explored and needs more consideration. I support any effort. We are a nation of talented, gifted people. I am of the opinion, that unless nurtured and cultivated, the full potential will never be released and the gifts will eventually die. We cannot afford that. There needs to be a marriage btw those who are more exposed and experience to discover talents and invest it and those hungry and thirst of knowledge and expertise in all facets of Liberia’s national advancement.

    While we stress on Liberians involvement, we cannot ignore government’s role in securing our future. I listed some of the concerns for that Liberians have and in other threads mentioned some of the concern that investors have. Ironically, they are the exactly or close to the same concern that Liberians have, security, the law and opportunities. There are millions of dollars in Liberia for the rise of the private sector, some are loans, and others are grants. One of the problems with the lending system rates are still high (14.2% down from 18%, source CBL), terms are unreasonable and many times borrowers do not have the collateral; consequently, the rise and expansion of the private sector is crippled, thus employment. Further, Liberia’s unemployment is at 85% (Index mundi). Research shows a strong correlation between high unemployment, poverty and strife (well, we’ve seen all of that in our little country). Our foreign investments thus far have not yielded jobs (promised) or released stresses of the unemployment figures (partly due to the current global crisis). I am also of the conviction that because of our dire state for investments, proper review of financial strength (ratio analysis) of some investors could have been better scrutinized. The private sector will provide jobs; this is a long term project not immediate. Currently, Eighty percent of all businesses in Liberia are informal and the formalized businesses are male dominated; this is not fair to women entrepreneurial. Most don’t realize that defaults on loans are much lower for women than men. The disproportionate ratio could signal discrimination in our banking sector. Without going to far, my research provides solutions. But, it is government’s and it’s business partners role to provide the atmosphere and institutions to encourage people to return home and participate in nation building, albeit in the private or public sectors or education. Thus far, this government has failed to fully engage these aspects.

    We all have a moral responsibility to our country. I hear people complain and bash, yet, they offer no solutions. Finding problems with a system is good, but providing solution is better.

    Though, I am a fan of this govt, where there are lapses, its only fair to make them known.

    1. Bnker — you make excellent points, including about the need for governments to take a leading role in any nation-building exercise. I also think you make a highly compelling case on the importance of individual opportunities, skills transfers and nurturing of talent, which can happen through governmental, private and individual levels.

      You have thrown out a challenge, I think, to other readers to try to think of solutions in the process of reconstruction. I will be interested to hear what others say also.

      Bnker – enjoy your time in Dakar. I liked your description of the church groups singing in the street. You did miss the snow here on the east coast in the US — on Saturday night in New York the city was literally blanketed with fresh snow. Horridly cold during the storm — but it was still beautiful.


      1. Thank you, Tracey,

        I hope you have a happy holiday, and hey, be safe out there….watch your steps, I am sure there are still patches of ice on the sidewalks and streets….

        Happy Holidays to you and yours, Tracey.

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