In Defense of Jerome J. Verdier, Sr., Former Chairman, Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)

By Ramses K Nah

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
Marcg 11, 2011


Recently, I read on The New Dawn Liberia, Monday February 28th, website a publication titled “UP Rubbishes Verdier”, in which Mr. Jerome Verdier, former head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) had condemned President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s response to the atrocities by the Libyan Leader, Moammar Qaddafi against his own people in their bid to oust him as their leader. (

I was filled with utter disbelief at the response of the Unity Party against Mr. Verdier. The Unity Party did not respond to the facts as outlined by Mr. Verdier, rather, they personally maligned, attacked and concocted innuendos against Mr. Verdier. This is DISGRACEFUL!

The Unity Party, its Chairman Varney Sherman and standard bearer, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf should be ashamed and embarrassed of such personal attacks coming from their organization. For a group of educated and learned people in the Unity party and the President, this is an affront not only to Mr. Verdier, but to the entire Liberian population.

To state in their response to the Honorable Gentleman, that ‘his failure as a trial lawyer’ is not only unprofessional, but personal. Take a step back, if Mr., Verdier was such a “failure” as a trail lawyer, why then did the President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf see it necessary to appoint him as Chairman of the TRC? Does Ellen Johnson not have good judgment in appointing competent people to her government; can she not judge good character and competence? Or is she just incompetent?

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf sought Mr. Verdier to be the Truth & Reconciliation Commission chairman. The President must have seen excellent qualities in this man. To now malign him by saying “For reasons still unfathomable, but often assumed to be motivated by political surrogacy and the unbridled ambition to gain and maintain prominence in Liberia at the expense of well-established Liberians, such as Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who have distinguished themselves in both the public and private sectors of Liberia, Cllr. Verdier has embarked on a crusade to malign, impugn, castigate and disrespect President Sirleaf. The TRC Chairmanship gave him the platform to do harm to an honourable person; but his over-zealousness caused his outright failure”, is very disingenuous!

The Unity Party through its surrogates, the Chairman, Varney Sherman and to a lesser extent, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, always refer to the TRC Report as unconstitutional. This is laughable. By this reasoning, all commissions, boards and committees authorized by the President and sanctioned by the Legislature are then”Unconstitutional”. The recommendations of the TRC are not outside of the scope of the constitution.

The recommendations of the TRC are what exactly they are, RECOMMENDATIONS. This government and legislature needs to implement the recommendations of the TRC as agreement upon in Article XIII of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement dated August 18, 2003.

Is it now that the Unity Party, its surrogates and Chairman, Varney Sherman, clearly see how culpable their standard bearer was by being one of those with the initial seed money of $10,000 in the Charles Taylor mayhem in Liberia? This president, Charles Taylor and all warring factions in the Liberian civil conflict must held accountable for their role in the destruction of Liberia and its people.

To refuse to hold the various actors in the destruction of Liberia sets a very dangerous precedent to the stability of the Republic. What message does this send? That it is reasonable for a very few with means and privilege to destroy Liberia, cause mass migration of its people with hundreds of thousands dead just to gain Power and position?

If the Unity Party really believes in the Liberian People and puts Liberia first, then they would activately seek to implement the recommendations of the TRC. Why? Because, justice and accountability for the destruction of Liberia, the murder of over 250,000 Liberian, the illegal exploitation of Liberia’s resources for personal use, trumps the clearing of all Liberia’s external debt, the $16 billion in investments in Liberia among all other achievements that the Unity party like to point out about Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

What the Unity Party forgets, is that this is not about Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

This is all about LIBERIA and its PEOPLE!

Moreover, it is no secret of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s courtship with Qaddafi, as evidenced by her numerous trips to Libya since she has been President. It is disingenuous for the Unity Party not to recognize this fact. The January 11th, 2011, article on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, titled “President Sirleaf and Libyan Leader Review Libyan Funded Projects in Liberia” in which she invites her “Brother Leader” as her special guest to Liberia’s Independence Day celebration in Lofa County.

By refusing to be unequivocal in her condemnation of Qaddafi and in support of the Libyan people, this president has demonstrated some of the same tendencies she supported in Charles Taylor’s war on Liberia.

The Unity Party, its Chairman and Standard Bearer owe a genuine apology to Mr. Verdier and the Liberian people for personal attacks on individuals who have the wherewithal to speak out when something is amiss by this government.

© 2011 by The Perspective

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