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Saturday, July 20, 2024

FRAUDULENT NGOs AND THEIR ASSOCIATES MUST BE BARRED FROM INFLUENCING LIBERIAN WAR CRIMES COURT, SAYS INVESTIGATOR

Date:

WASHINGTON DC – Gibril Massaquoi, a witness for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, was falsely accused by Alain Werner and Hassan Bility, leading to his arrest and detention for two years, according to a statement issued on Monday, June 17, 2024, by the International Justice Group (IJG) investigator Al Smith. Smith stated, “Massaquoi was acquitted of all charges twice—first on April 29, 2022, and then again on January 31, 2024. These acquittals revealed that witnesses against Massaquoi were coached and lied under oath.” He further highlighted, “Evidence shows that Bility committed perjury multiple times in his testimony against Massaquoi.”

According to Al Smith of the International Justice Group (IJG), “This situation demonstrates Bility’s involvement in perjury.” Smith added, “During cross-examination, many witnesses admitted they had never seen Massaquoi and were coached to falsely accuse him of war crimes. These witnesses were paid by Werner and Bility in exchange for their false testimonies.”

“Bility and Werner conspired to maliciously prosecute Massaquoi, a protected witness of the United Nations-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone,” stated Al Smith. He continued, “They suborned perjury by providing false statements and testimony from coached witnesses to the Finnish government. Their actions led to Massaquoi’s four-year ordeal, falsely accusing him of leaving a guarded safe house in Freetown, Sierra Leone, to commit war crimes in Liberia.”

Al Smith emphasized, “Three NGOs were involved in this malicious prosecution: the Center for Justice and Accountability in California, the Global Justice Research Project in Liberia, and Civitas Maxima in Geneva. These organizations fraudulently initiated the process by obtaining targeted individuals’ personal information and submitting false affidavits to have them arrested.”

“In the case of Agnes Reeves Taylor, false testimony from a coached witness, Alieu Varfley Kanneh, led to an affidavit filed by Bility, resulting in Kanneh’s asylum in the UK,” Smith noted. He pointed out, “This affidavit falsely implicated several high-profile Liberians and included a witness, Morris Jarbarteh, who falsely claimed that Reeves Taylor ordered the execution of Margibi County Superintendent Amos Bohn. Bohn was later found alive in London, exposing the fraudulent nature of the testimony.”

Al Smith also commented on Bility’s credibility, stating, “Bility also lied about being tortured by Massaquoi on Liberia’s Independence Day in 2002, a claim proven false since the alleged orchestrator, Joe Tate, had died in a plane crash in 1999. Bility’s inconsistent statements about his arrest and torture at Klay further discredit his accusations. He provided nine different accounts, none initially mentioning Massaquoi as his torturer. His statements to various entities over the years varied significantly, revealing a pattern of fabrication.”

Al Smith concluded with a broader perspective, “The implications of these actions are significant, raising concerns about the integrity of international justice processes. The use of coached witnesses and fabricated evidence undermines the credibility of war crimes tribunals and can cause irreparable harm to innocent individuals.”

Furthermore, Al Smith highlighted, the involvement of NGOs in such fraudulent activities damages the reputation of civil society organizations that play a crucial role in advocating for justice and human rights. The actions of Werner, Bility, and their associated organizations cast a shadow over the legitimate efforts of other NGOs working diligently to bring perpetrators of war crimes to justice. It is essential to distinguish between genuine advocacy and malicious prosecution to maintain public trust in these institutions.

In light of these revelations, Al Smith emphasized, “there is a growing call for accountability and reform within the international justice system. Legal experts and human rights advocates are urging for comprehensive investigations into the practices of the implicated NGOs and individuals. There is also a push for legal reforms to prevent the recurrence of such incidents, ensuring that justice is served based on truthful and reliable evidence.”

“Massaquoi’s lawsuit against Werner and Bility for $50 million USD,” Al Smith noted, “Is not just about seeking compensation for the personal and familial damage caused. It also serves as a stark warning against the misuse of the justice system for personal vendettas or political agendas. The outcome of this lawsuit could set a precedent for holding individuals and organizations accountable for malicious prosecution, ultimately strengthening the integrity of international justice mechanisms.”

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