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Thursday, May 23, 2024

GLOBAL JUSTICE PEACE AND HUMAN RIGHTS CONDEMNS WITNESS COACHING AND PAYMENT IN WAR CRIMES CASES

Date:

Ambassador Dr. Marie Scott Wilson, Global Director Advocate-Activist General of the Global Justice Peace and Human Rights Advocacy Network (GJPHRAN), strongly condemns witness coaching and payment in war crimes cases. In a recent statement, she commends the national legislature for passing a resolution to establish the War and Economic Crimes Court (WECC) in Liberia and calls on the United Nations to support the government’s decision to bring justice to all victims of the Liberian civil war, including those who have illegally acquired wealth.

Dr. Wilson highlights that GJPHRAN has become aware of concerns regarding the credibility and practices of certain organizations engaged in witness recruitment, coaching, and payment in war crimes cases. Specifically, Alain Werner of Civitas Maxima, Hassan Bility of the Global Justice Research Project, and the Center for Justice and Accountability have been accused of producing false testimonies against the accused. Several newspapers, including Front Page Africa, Analyst Newspaper, Liberian Observer, Independent Probe, The Washington Examiner, Concord Times, and Smart News Liberia, have reported on the discrediting of these organizations by competent international judicial authorities.

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Mr. Alain Werner, executive director, Civitas Maxima

European and African courts are reviewing cases where false affidavits and witness coaching by Civitas Maxima and their Liberian partner, the Global Justice Research Project, have been alleged. Incidents such as the release of alleged war criminal Martina Johnson from pretrial detention in Belgium due to concerns about witnesses provided by Civitas Maxima and Global Justice Research Project, as well as the release of Agnes Reeves Taylor in the United Kingdom following false information provided by Werner and Bility, highlight the gravity of these allegations. Similar allegations of witness coaching and falsified claims against Civitas Maxima and their partners have also emerged in Finland.

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Hassan Bility – Global Justice and Research Project

Considering the potential dangers and credibility issues associated with these wrongful actions, GJPHRAN urges the government of Liberia and its international partners to distance themselves from these groups and ensure the independence of witness testimony in the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court. It is crucial to prevent any compromise of witness independence, where witnesses are being coached and paid to provide false testimonies against the accused.

The establishment of a fair and just court necessitates upholding the principles of truth, fairness, and respect for the rights of the accused. Any actions that undermine these principles must be thoroughly investigated and addressed. The credibility of the court and the pursuit of justice for victims of war crimes and economic crimes in Liberia heavily rely on the integrity of the process.

GJPHRAN recommends conducting a comprehensive review and vetting process of organizations and individuals involved in witness recruitment and coaching to ensure their credibility and adherence to ethical standards. Furthermore, it is important to establish safeguards and mechanisms to protect the independence of witnesses and prevent any manipulation or corruption of testimonies.

By taking these precautions and maintaining the highest standards of integrity, the government and its international partners can ensure a fair and credible process in the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia.

In addition, GJPHRAN expresses concern about a teenage female student who allegedly had an association with Hon. Yekeh Kolubah, a member of the Liberian Legislature. This situation has caused the child psychological trauma and shame and could have serious consequences for her well-being. GJPHRAN calls on the Gender Ministry to intervene and provide support to the young girl before her mental stability is further impacted. The organization also urges the public to refrain from sharing additional information about the girl and instead join efforts to protect her well-being.

In conclusion, GJPHRAN says it remains dedicated to advocating for global justice, peace, and human rights. The organization will continue to monitor and support initiatives that promote accountability, fairness, and the protection of vulnerable individuals in Liberia and beyond, said Ambassador Scott Wilson.

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Smart News Liberia is an online news outlet and a product of Smart Media Group Inc. Our website, smartnewsliberia.com, covers a broad spectrum of news content. For inquiries or information, you can reach us at 0777425285 or 0886946925, or email us at smartnewsliberia@gmail.com or info@smartnewsliberia.com.

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