In response to Truth commissions and prosecutions: Two sides of the same coin? [http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/46719]. I just finished reading "A Human Being Died That Night: Forgiving Apartheid's Chief Killer" by Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela. I had a meeting with Elazar Barkan about my work in Liberia on collecting stories from Victim and Perpetrators in Liberia making them talk on the radio about what had happen t...read more
In response to Truth commissions and prosecutions: Two sides of the same coin? [http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/46719]. I just finished reading "A Human Being Died That Night: Forgiving Apartheid's Chief Killer" by Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela. I had a meeting with Elazar Barkan about my work in Liberia on collecting stories from Victim and Perpetrators in Liberia making them talk on the radio about what had happen to them during the war and what (perpetrators) did during the war in Liberia. How both Victims and Perpetrators felt when it was happening to them as a Victim and the how Perpetrators how felt when they were hurting people.
I worked with the Liberia TRC trying to talk to the Perpetrators to be part of the TRC processs in Liberia. Since they have beening coming on my radio program to talk about what they did during the war, they also needed to go to the TRC. The TRC has been charged with the responsibility of investigating the root causes of the conflict in Liberia, amplifying historical truths. If this is the work of the Liberia TRC then the Perpetrators have to be part of the Liberia TRC.
You ask: Are TRC's designed to generate more truth, more justice, reparations, and genuine institutional reform? Or are they designed to undermine the State’s and society’s legal, ethical and political obligations to their people? I have asked myself this question alot.
Again you say "Truth commissions have been multiplying rapidly around the world and gaining increasing attention in recent years. They are proposed for different reasons and driven by diverse motives. They can be used firstly, for the purpose of national reconciliation and in the interests of the society; secondly, sometimes they can be used to avoid accountability or prosecution and merely to shield an offender from justice." If we are going to have TRC in Africa after conflicts - are we going to have the same type of South Africa TRC?
In Sierra Leone there was a TRC. How did was it at the end? Did the people of Sierra Leone get Justice? After theTRC finished its work and gave its recommendations, did the Sierra Leone Government adopt them? How can the Liberia TRC learn from these two TRCs? What will Happen to the Kenya TRC?
We have to see what will work for us in Africa after our conflicts. There are so many tensions between Truth Commissions and Prosecution in Liberia. Prince Yormie (or Yeomi) Johnson is a Liberian political and former military figure. He was elected to serve as a senator in the Liberian congress in the historic 2005 election. Johnson was born in Nimba County, in the east-central interior of the country.
In 1990, Johnson was allied with Charles Taylor as part of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), which crossed the border from Côte d'Ivoire and began operations in Liberia on Christmas Eve, 1989. However, an internal power struggle resulted in Prince Johnson leading a faction of fighters which he named the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL).
In spite of ECOMOG opposition, INPFL forces captured most of the capital, Monrovia, late in the summer of 1990, and Johnson's supporters abducted President Samuel Doe at ECOMOG headquarters, the Free Port of Liberia. Although Johnson has recently denied killing Doe, there is no question that Doe was brutally executed in Johnson's custody on September 9, 1990, as the spectacle was videotaped and seen on news reports around the world. The video shows Johnson sipping a Budweiser as Doe's ear is dismembered. Ahmadou Kourouma also accused Prince Johnson of war crimes (abduction and torture of several Firestone's executives) in his book "Allah is not obliged". Shortly after Doe's death, Johnson allied with UN-supported ECOMOG peacekeepers in capturing the Liberian capital.
Subsequently, Johnson briefly claimed the presidency of Liberia in the fall of 1990. His claims ended following the consolidation of rebel power by his rival Charles Taylor of the NPFL. In an attempt by the weak national government to reconstruct Liberian politics, the INPFL was recognized at a conference held in Guinea, where Amos Sawyer was elected president. However, Johnson was forced to flee to Nigeria in fear of rebel forces supporting Taylor. He returned to Liberia in March 2004, stating his intention to return to politics by running for a senate seat in Nimba County; however, he left Liberia again on 7 April, apparently due to death threats he had received from the country's dominant rebel group, the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD). In the October 11, 2005 elections, Johnson contested and won a Senate seat representing Nimba County, in spite of having a reputation for wartime brutality and having committed gross human rights abuses. He is the chair of the Senate's defense committee. Can we have him prosecuted in Liberia? How long will it take and how much money will the government spend on him? After all, he is a Senator in the same Liberia where he commited Human Rights abuses.