Liberia’s Ear-Breaking Silence To Africa Union Threatened Withdrawal From The International Crime Court (ICC)

By Bai M. Gbala, Sr.

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
February 13, 2017



On October 12, 2013 at the Extraordinary Summit, the African Union (AU) declared that the “ICC should not prosecute sitting African leaders . . . that the indictment of H.E Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and H.E William Samoei Ruto, the President and Deputy-President of the Republic of Kenya respectively, may pose to the on-going efforts in the promotion of peace, national healing and reconciliation, as well as the rule of law and stability, not only in Kenya, but also in the Region.” Therefore, AU urged the ICC to defer trial of Kenyan president and deputy amid claims that the ICC unfairly targets Africa. The Kenyan president is facing ICC charges for allegedly orchestrating a killing spree.  

The Summit called for cases against sitting leaders in the International Criminal Court (ICC) to be deferred, until the politicians leave office. Foreign ministers in the 54-member States of African Union called for the cases of the Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, and his deputy, William Ruto, to be delayed.  

The proposed threat by the African nations to withdraw from the ICC was criticized by the former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, but did not gain support at the Summit held in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. Kofi Annan said that “Withdrawing from the court would be a ‘badge of shame’”, while Archbishop Desmond Tutu voiced support for the court. Amnesty International urged African nations meeting in the Ethiopian capital not to cut ties with the court, saying victims of crimes deserved justice.

But, according to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Ethiopian Foreign Minister,"sitting Heads of State and Government should not be prosecuted while in office. We have resolved to speak with one voice to make sure that our concerns are heard loud and clear. The ICC was condescending towards the continent and has transformed itself into a political instrument, targeting Africa and Africans. This unfair and unjust treatment is totally unacceptable".  He said further that the “AU will ask for the trials of the Kenyan president and his deputy as well as Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, to be deferred”.

Group of African Nations urge Withdrawal
Recently, a group of African nations, UN- and ICC-member-states, bolstered by the AU action, announced withdrawal from and questioning the “relevance of the International Criminal Court”. This tiny group of three nations – The Gambia, Burundi and the Republic of South Africa - was led by former President of the tiny Republic of The Gambia, Excellency Yahya Jammeh. 

The Gambia
Leading the exit movement was former President Jammeh who was in the fourth term of his 22-year rule as President of the Gambia. The belief of the Gambians, like the AU, is that the ICC targets only African Heads of State. But the decision to withdraw, according to the Gambian Information Minister, “is that the ICC has been used for the persecution of Africans and especially their leaders, while ignoring (war) crimes committed by the West. There are many western countries, at least 30, that have committed heinous war crimes against independent . . . states and their citizens since the creation of the ICC and not a single western war criminal has been indicted. The ICC, despite being called International Criminal Court, is in fact, an ‘International Caucasian Court’ for persecution and humiliation of people of color, especially Africans”.

On the Events and Elections that brought Mr. Alassane Ouattara to power as President of La Cote d’Ivoire in 2010, the fiercely anti-Western Colonial Powers, then President of the Gambia, issued the statement profoundly critical not only of the Western Powers, but also, and particularly, of the Republic of France for its involvement in La Cote d’Ivoire, and declared:

“The Gambian Government will not recognize any President or government in Africa that has been imposed by forces outside of the African Continent for whatever reasons . . . They (outside forces) loot African resources on behalf of the (Western) powers that brought them to power . . . We will not recognize your (such) African puppets . . .”.

“The events in La Cote d’Ivoire have vindicated us on our earlier assertion that Western, neo-colonialist-sponsored agents in Africa that owe allegiance only to themselves and their Western masters are ready to walk on thousands of dead bodies to the Presidency. That is what is happening in La Cote d’Ivoire . . . What is really sinister and dangerous about the neo-colonialist threat is that they (Western colonialist Powers) are ready to use brute force or carry out outrageous massacres to neutralize any form of resistance to Western Powers-selected President, as has happened in La Cote d’Ivoire”.

“ . . . The former (Ivorian) colonial power (the Republic of France) . . . outside of UN mandate . . . bombarded the (Ivorian) Presidential Palace for days and, eventually, stormed the Palace . . . Entire villages . . . were wiped out by . . . (French) Republican Forces fighting for Ouattara”.

“Our position is very clear. The case of Gbagbo is replica of the case of Patrice Lumumba who, as a freedom fighter for the dignity and independence of not only the Congolese people, but the entire black race, was over-thrown by Western Powers, including the UN, and handed over to his enemies almost 50 years ago, are the same (Western neo-colonialist) forces involvd in the Ivory Coast . . .”.

“If justice is to done (in Africa) . . . Africans should not only wake up, but (also) should stand up to the new attempts to re-colonize Africa through so-called elections that are organized just to fool the people, since the true verdict of the people would not be respected, if it does not go in favor of the Western-backed candidates, as has happened in La Cote d’Ivoire” (Africawatch, May 2011).

We argue that Liberia’s sound-breaking silence, one way or the other, is not unexpected.

In his analysis (quoted verbatim above) of the recent Events and “Elections” in La Cote d’Ivoire, the African nation next door to Liberia, Yahya Jammeh says that “our position is very clear” – the position of victim of colonial rule, human servitude and of being a “nothing” in his own land. Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf did not, does come close to nor have this historic, colonial experience. On the contrary, Ellen has an American-European mentality or mind-set, socially, economically and politically. She has nothing, in this context, with a Buhari (of Nigeria), Kofi Anan (of Ghana) and the leaders of the AU, including Senegal, La Cote d’Ivoire (though a puppet of the West), Mali, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Tunisia, Cape Verde, Botswana, Chad and all of many of the 54 African nations who endured and suffered the realities of the indignities of racist colonialism, but expressed “no support” publically for the withdrawal movement.

Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and her Ministry of Foreign Affairs cannot voice public support nor Advise or criticize the withdrawal movement, simply, because she is the successful, political creature of the West. Voicing public support on the one hand will, certainly, undermine her Western solidarity/celebrity built over years, although under tremendous stress and tension, already. To advise or criticize on the other hand, will create suspicion by her newly-found refuge and damage cooperation and political solidarity and celebrity status with African states, in which she is now Chair of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, a dilemma!!

One may ask, “but where do you stand?” Like Excellency Jammeh, my “position is very clear” – that withdrawal from the ICC by the African states is highly unlikely to resolve the critical socio-cultural, political-economic and legal issues raised by the African States, including the African condition of systematic abuse of political power - civil, political, and human rights violations, with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity of our own, African Peoples.

We believe, reasonably, as stated elsewhere and repeated hereunder, that the contrary - retaining, maintaining and increasing massive membership in the ICC - is the rational, productive answer to resolution of the issues raised by the African States, for the following reasons:   

a. “That in the light of the fact that today’s modern, 21st century World Community is committed to liberal, progressive democracy, dedicated to informed decisions by the majority and, also, the fact that non-white or non-Caucasian states effectively outnumber white or Caucasian states at the UN and other world bodies (including world population), it is reasonable and highly likely that the issues raised by the African states will be resolved by active participation by the informed majority of the non-white states; that the proper, reasonable approach is retaining, increasing membership and using the Rome Statue to expose the hypocrisy of the western and other states and demand Change/Reforms of the ICC; and that the ICC is, indeed, not “a foreign court”, since ratification of the Rome Statute automatically concedes membership and jurisdiction of the ICC, including those who are not members but willingly refer cases to the ICC.  Therefore, withdrawal is counter-productive”;

b. “That the Withdrawal Movement is barking at the wrong tree; for, the ICC is a court of law that adjudicates conflicts or disagreements brought before it by parties to the conflicts or disagreements. Courts of law do not go out seeking litigants. The cause(s) of the issues raised are found not in the trial chambers of the ICC, but in the New York, UN Plaza Halls. Consequently, the non-white states must use its majority to reform not only the issues concerned with the ICC, but also, the UN system, itself. Packing bags and leaving the ICC is profound cop-out at the expense of the poor, hungry and sick Africans”.

It is in this respect that we note that it is very, very important that African and other non-white states get on the offensive by use of their majority for change.  

Kandajaba Zoebohn Zoedjallah

What a powerful reflection from this scholarly gentleman Hon. Bai Mayson Gbala!

African and other non-white states "using "their majority for change" on the international plane to reform the UN or the ICC is according to contemporary African leaders(Uhuru Kenyatta, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf,etc) and their paid agents (Jones Nhinson Williams aka William Hanson etc. etc.) not in the interest of Africa´s elites or elitist mindsets!

This is made evident in the withdrawal from the ICC agenda by African leaders and the view (few days ago on this site) of Jones Nhinson Williams´ aka William Hanson´s (also a supposed war criminal) that the vote of the majority does not matter but rather that of the elite vis a vis the Liberian 2017 elections.

An Interview with William Hanson aka Jones Nhinson Williams, Senior Spokesman of LURD

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

May 15, 2002

The war between the Taylor regime and the Liberian dissident group known as Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) intensified during recent days. There were attacks in Palala, Gbarnga, Klay, Tubmanberg and Arttington. On Tuesday, May 14, 2002, The Perspective (TP) conducted an interview with Mr. William Hanson, senior spokesman of (LURD), the dissident group that is waging war against Mr. Taylor to oust him from power.. Below is the interview conducted by George H. Nubo and Siahyonkron Nyanseor:

TP: What are the territories you control now?

Mr. William Hanson: We control Northwestern Liberia, and most part of Central Liberia - at the moment we are at the outskirts of the capital, Monrovia.

TP: What towns are under your control?

Mr. William Hanson: We control Klay, for example. We control Tubmanburg. We did some fighting in Arthington, but we have made tactical decision that is aimed at reducing civilian casualties. This is guerrilla tactics. We are trying to see how we can encircle Monrovia. Military diplomacy will not permit me to tell you where we are now.

TP: You control Klay, Tubmanberg, Gbarnga? Is there any other major town that is under your control?

Mr. William Hanson: Yes, [we control] Zeinzu, Palala and all those places.

TP: Who controls Bopolu?

Mr. William Hanson: We control Bopolu. [I am speaking] to you from there.

TP: What about Zorzor?

Mr. William Hanson: Zorzor is under our control. Those are places where we have civil administrations functioning very well. We have civil administrations in all those places.

TP: So, these are not ghost towns that you control?

Mr. William Hanson: They are not ghost towns - we have people there. But it is not the kind of population you would expect to be there [in normal situation].

TP: Why do you think that the civilian population runs away from you into Taylor’s territories instead of coming into your territories?

Mr. William Hanson: They do not run away from us. What they do is [that] they try to escape conflict zones because when ever we make some moves the ruthless ATU comes around and instead of facing us they will revenge or display aggression on the civilians. So, what the civilians do is that since they cannot approach us, they just go to Monrovia where the media organization is - to report how they have been treated by the regime. But when they come to our area, they live peaceful live.

TP: What is LURD’s agenda for Liberia? We have not seen LURD’s agenda. We have written to your office over five months ago requesting LURD’s agenda, but we have not received any response.

Mr. William Hanson: We have an agenda. The agenda we have is that we want to make sure democracy takes root in the country - respect for fundamental human rights also takes serious root. We want to make sure that all sectors of the country become developed in terms of economic empowerment, agricultural activities, infrastructural development, and medical care in all the counties. Basically, the main thing we want to do is to put in place respect for the constitution - where nobody will be above the law. So when people are corrupt, when they steal government’s money, they will be subject to the law - so that nobody will institutionalize banditry in the country… We will have powerful legal system in the country. When we have powerful legal system in the country, the next thing that will happen is that democracy will flow. Respect for fundamental human rights will flow. We do not have the authority to do all these things. To do all these things, we need the collective efforts of all of our countrymen and women. We want all Liberians to come together to form political parties, even including the ruling party. We want to see ourselves as a factor in anything to do with our country.

TP: Why can’t you organize yourselves into a political party to contest the 2003 elections instead of this approach?

Mr. William Hanson: It will never work. In the first place this is matter of survival and self-preservation as a people and as a nation. You are speaking of somebody who has no relation to the international community, who has outlived his usefulness. Realize certain key things: this man was not democratically elected. The so-called elections that we refer to as elections [1997 elections] happened simply because the international community, particularly ECOWAS, felt that since he had the military might, he should be given the opportunity to shape the affairs of the country - With a mandate to restructure the Liberian security forces so that he could provide security for the nation. He reneged on restructuring the security forces.

TP: Recently, both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch reported some of the atrocities LURD has committed against the Liberian people. Can you comment?

Mr. William Hanson: In the first place, we don’t want to say that we are perfect. Our forces do make some mistakes because we are human beings. In a conflict situation, like the one we are involved in, there will always be mistakes. But we are straightforward on civilian protection. I want to say that the reports done by the two institutions were done professionally. We respect those institutions and their reports. But some of the things that were said in the reports were said because the general picture was not understood. Most of the atrocities are not caused by us, they are caused by the other group – the ATU group. That should be understood. Most of the atrocities are committed by the Taylor regime, which has the track record of committing mayhem and destruction. They tend to put the atrocities on our organization with the view of gaining public sentiments and international sympathy on their side.

TP: It is said that the begging of the year was a PR disaster for your organization because your organization took credit for Mr. Taylor’s gimmick. Could you comment on that?

Mr. William Hanson: We value the expression of individual’s opinions, because we cherish press freedom and expression of the mind. Those people who say those things, have the right to [do so] – that is their opinion. We do not want to say that we had PR setback at the beginning of the year.

TP: Was LURD responsible for the death of Emma Ross? Was LURD responsible for the death of Massaquoi? Was LURD responsible for the previous Klay attack. Sawmill attack?

Mr. William Hanson: The situation that unfolded in Klay is that LURD was responsible in sending its forces to Klay, but the atrocities committed and the general atmosphere created in that area was not by LURD. But we were there and we took charge for some time. On the issue of Massaquoi - Massaquoi was setup by Mr. Taylor to be assassinated. The helicopter came within our terrain, and we did shoot at the helicopter. So we assumed that we hit the helicopter. It may have been possible that our forces led to his death. At the same time, we just want to say that he was setup and he may have been killed by Mr. Taylor before he was even put in the helicopter.

TP: Some say that there were no bullet holes on the helicopter. So are you sure you hit the helicopter?

Mr. William Hanson: The international community and Liberians in general know that this man is a liar. He has lied to people before. He committed massacre in the past and said it was ECOMOG. He killed American Catholic nuns and said that they killed themselves. You know, and I know that Taylor is a liar so why should people continue to believe him.

TP: If you know that Mr. Taylor is a liar, then why take credit for the death of Massaquoi? Why take credit for the death of Emma Ross?

Mr. William Hanson: It is not the matter of taking credit, it is matter of saying that we were in the area when Massaquoi’s helicopter went there. We shot at the helicopter! How he died, we don’t know but we shot at the helicopter. He may have been killed before he was put in the helicopter.

TP: What about Ross?

Mr. William Hanson: Ross went within our terrain and an ambush was setup and he died within the area where the ambush was setup. In a military situation like this, whether it is true or not, so long your people were in the terrain - you will say something. Even if it is not true, some character of truth will be in it.

TP: ECOWAS has hit LURD with a travel ban. Are you stranded in Lofa?

Mr. William Hanson: We are not stranded. In the first place, we are disinterested in traveling to any place. One of the reasons why are engage in the struggle is that we want to remain in our country. There is a deficiency within the ECOWAS Secretariat in terms of conflict resolution. And once the international community continues to make people heads of major strategic [organizations] that are supposed to resolve conflicts, particularly ECOWAS – people who do not have the requisite moral value, there will continue to be some problem. It is unsettling that Chambas with all his education is at ECOWAS Secretariat and is being coerced by Mr. Taylor to do things that do not [reflect] his status as ECOWAS Secretary General and even as an educated person.

TP: Are you saying that Chambas is bias because of Taylor’s influence?

Mr. William Hanson: This is not the matter of him being bias, it the matter of him continuing what he started. He was part of the group that selected this fellow to become president of the country despite all his criminality. So, he just wants to continue what he started. And beside that, he has an alliance with certain groups that think what they are doing is the best thing to do within the region.

TP: This war (between LURD and Taylor’s forces) has been going on for at least two years. Are there POWs [prisoners of war] and if so how many?

Mr. William Hanson: At the moment, we do not have any POWs.

TP: Do you kill the enemies who capture?

Mr. William Hanson: No, we do not! They are our brothers. When they surrender to us we educate them politically, de-traumatize those who are traumatized and send them back to the front. And this is one of the main pools where we get our manpower from.

TP: So you turn the POWs into fighters for LURD?

Mr. William Hanson: Yes, an example the deputy chief of mission for the Gbarnga program is one of Taylor’s subjects who have been politically well-cultured.

TP: We recently received an e-mail from LURD stating that we should not give anybody an interview with the exception of you. Is there a power struggle within LURD?

Mr. William Hanson: There is no power struggle. In any institution, there is division of labor with hierarchy. If you are the Managing Editor and another man is the Editor, I think the functions are different… We have one spokesman, but there are others who may speak if they are positioned or recommended by the spokesman to do so. That’s why Joe Wylie, Bennie and others have been speaking because the spokesman, myself, used to recommend them so that we will give this thing a national character to make our people to know that we have people [from various] political sub-divisions of the country.

TP: Joe Wylie once said that LURD’s forces were not in Sawmill when they claimed that they were there. Did he misspeak?

Mr. William Hanson: That’s exactly what I was telling you. Wylie is the senior military advisor and the fact that he accepted to grant you an interview without getting the authorization from the spokesman, who supposed to send out information, he was expressing his opinion.

TP: The general view expressed by most Liberians that they do not want to replace one dictatorship with another. What is your comment on that?

Mr. William Hanson: The first thing as an institution, our focus is not on power. I just want to make that very clear. As a national spokesman, and one of the founding members of this movement, I am not interested in any state power. I am not interested in being in government or working for government. We are doing this thing as a matter of personal commitment to make sure that we have liberation of our country and people so that they will be able to enjoy economic development. There may be some people within the LURD who in their capacity as Liberians and educated people may be interested into taking government jobs as a matter of some constitution rights. So, I am not ruling that out. But what I want to say is that we as an institution have a focus. Our focus is to make sure that our country becomes part of the comity of nations in terms of development. So with that in mind, we will want to play a little role in any political arrangement that will replace Mr. Taylor. The only person we are after is Mr. Taylor.

TP: But Mr. Taylor is not the only corrupt person within the Liberian government - why just Taylor? If he is gone, the others will still be around. What about the legislature that gave him cart blanche. The ministers?

Mr. William Hanson: Our aim is to create a level playing field. We are not in the business of witch hunting. We are saying that this guy is using the presidency to institutionalize banditry not only in the country, but also in the entire sub-region.

TP: How do you go about replacing him. If LURD succeeds who is going to replace Mr. Taylor? Is there going to be interim government, or is it Konneh who referred to himself on BBC as Commander in Chief? Who is going to replace him?

Mr. William Hanson: The question of replacement is something that all of us - you and other Liberians- have to [decide]. It is something that [requires] the collective will of all Liberians. LURD will not take somebody and say you are the president. That is not the position of LURD.

TP: So are you going to get rid of Mr. Taylor today and then say there will be election tomorrow for the president of Liberia - to elect replacement for Mr. Taylor?

Mr. William Hanson: No that is not exactly what we are saying. We are going to call all political organizations, including the NPP party - all parties will be involved.

TP: Liberians are talking about war crimes tribunal for those who have committed atrocities in the country, including LURD. What is your position?

Mr. William Hanson: We are prepared for anything because our records are clean. We have nothing to hide.

TP: Thank You

© The Perspective
P.O. Box 450493
Atlanta, GA 31145
Kandajaba Zoebohn Zoedjallah at 03:09AM, 2017/02/15.

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