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Thursday, June 20, 2024

NGO CORRUPTION SCANDAL EXPOSES GLOBAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM: DEMANDS FOR ACCOUNTABILITY AND REFORM

Date:

MONROVIA – Recent revelations surrounding Ambassador Beth Van Schaack’s alleged ties to organizations involved in unethical practices have ignited a firestorm of criticism and calls for accountability within the realm of global criminal justice. Darius Tweh, a key witness in Liberian war and economic crimes investigations, has urged the Biden administration to remove Van Schaack from her role as the United States Ambassador for Global Criminal Justice. He has cited her alleged connections to organizations like the Global Justice Research Project, Civitas Maxima, and the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA).

Hassan Bility heads the Global Justice and Research Project (GJRP) in Liberia, Alain Werner leads Civitas Maxima in Switzerland, and Carmen Cheung Ka-ma heads the Center for Justice and Accountability in California.

An investigative report by Michael Rubin, published in the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog today, exposed a troubling pattern of corruption within NGOs operating in global criminal justice. Rubin’s findings reveal shocking allegations of witness tampering and falsification of evidence by organizations such as Civitas International and the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA). These unethical practices have resulted in serious consequences, including wrongful accusations and a loss of public trust in the justice system.

According to Rubin, Ambassador Beth Van Schaack, the Biden administration’s ambassador-at-large for Global Criminal Justice, previously practiced at the Center for Justice and Accountability, which is now ground zero for ethics complaints for its work in West Africa, and has served on its global adviser board.

“Van Schaack has invited Liberian journalist and Global Justice and Research Project Director Hassan Bility, who is now facing fraud charges, to visit Washington where he photographed himself on the steps of Congress and in the State Department with arms around Van Schaack.”

Moreover, Rubin’s investigation uncovered systemic issues within the NGO sector and its interactions with government agencies. Van Schaack’s past affiliation with CJA, which is now under scrutiny for its activities in West Africa, has raised concerns about conflicts of interest and impartiality. Tweh’s allegations, along with documented connections between Van Schaack and individuals facing fraud charges, further suggest possible collusion and bias.

Recently, in an exclusive interview with Concord Times and Smart News Liberia, Tweh detailed his involvement as a planted witness in cases involving individuals like Hassan Bility. He alleged that Global Justice Research Project and CJA have been paying and coaching witnesses to give false testimony against individuals accused of war crimes during Liberia’s civil wars. He claims that these NGOs have misused funds meant for international community projects for personal gain, thus undermining the pursuit of justice and accountability.

Tweh’s plea for the exclusion of these organizations from the Liberian war crime court process underscores the urgent need for reform and oversight within the global criminal justice system. The integrity of justice proceedings must not be compromised by unethical practices or personal agendas.

As pressure mounts on Congress to investigate these allegations and restore public trust in NGOs and government officials, Tweh emphasized that the Biden administration must demonstrate its commitment to ethical governance and uphold the integrity of global criminal justice initiatives.

“Only through collective action and a renewed commitment to integrity can the principles of justice and accountability be upheld on a global scale,” Tweh stressed.

He continued: “In light of these revelations, the international community must reassess the standards and oversight mechanisms governing NGOs in the realm of criminal justice. Transparency, accountability, and adherence to ethical standards must be paramount in the pursuit of justice for victims and accountability for perpetrators.”

Regarding the commencement of cases involving General Moses S Wright and Seku Layee Kamara, Tweh’s pledge to challenge false evidence underscores the importance of scrutinizing the integrity of every aspect of the justice process.

“While the road to justice may be challenging, it is crucial that we remain steadfast in our pursuit of truth and accountability,” Tweh indicated.

It can be recalled, Alvin Smith, a War Crimes investigator based in the United States, recently sent a communication to the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police, Hon. Gregory Coleman, outlining serious allegations against several international organizations involved in war crimes prosecution.

Smith, representing the International Justice Group of Washington D.C., has shed light on the collaboration between the Center for Justice and Accountability of California, USA, and Civitas Maxima of Geneva, Switzerland, with Hassan Bility, the Executive Director of the Global Justice & Research Project of Liberia.

According to Smith, these organizations are accused of orchestrating a scheme for personal gain and financial benefits by operating “war crimes prosecution theatres” outside of Liberia.

The International Justice Group of Washington D.C., along with Alvin Smith, has called upon the Liberia National Police to conduct a thorough criminal investigation into these allegations. In the letter dated April 25, 2024, Mr. Smith urged the authorities to take swift action to uphold the integrity of the criminal justice system and ensure that justice is served.

As of now, the Liberia National Police has not responded to these allegations, as confirmed by an inside source. The international community is eagerly awaiting their response and the subsequent actions taken to address this serious matter.

Socrates Smythe Saywon
Socrates Smythe Saywon is a Liberian journalist. You can contact me at 0777425285 or 0886946925, or reach out via email at saywonsocrates@smartnewsliberia.com or saywonsocrates3@gmail.com.

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