Let Justice be Blind, For the
Children of Sierra Leone
(A Statement by the Liberian Democratic Future, LDF)
The unanimous decision of the United Nations Security Council to prosecute members of Sierra Leone rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF), sponsored by Liberia's President Charles Taylor, is a landmark decision in honor of the thousands of innocent children left today without limbs and scared forever. After years of silence and treating perhaps the worst criminals that West Africa has produced in time, the world has settled for the fact that these men cannot be redeemed and accepted as normal human beings in a normal society. Therefore, they must stand trial before the world for their inhumanity. We at the Liberian Democratic Future, LDF, celebrate this decision with all our vigor and hope that justice will be blind for the children of Sierra Leone.
Already, and as expected, there is opposition to the trial by the sponsors of the RUF. Liberia's President Taylor is vehemently opposed to the trial because, in his mind, it will compromise Liberia's "national security." Mr. Taylor contends that the trial of his comrade, Foday Sankoh, is "premature," and that it will further complicate the war in Sierra Leone. At one point, he described any attempt to try Sankoh as "stupid and foolish." The Liberian President, whose son is accused of handling the RUF weapons for diamonds transactions, has also repeatedly labeled any trial of Sankoh as un-African. His solution to the Sierra Leone horrors is the African Solution, which was carved out and pushed down the throats of war-wary Liberians in a so-called election that has seen the country transformed into a criminal enclave. But thank God for Sierra Leone, the world has unreservedly rejected that African Solution and opted for a humane solution that takes into consideration justice for those children, men and woman who aimlessly roam today without hands, without feet, expected to make a living in this already difficult world in which Sierra Leone is listed as the poorest.
Had the world refused to see evolving events in West Africa through the lenses of men like Jimmy Carter, Jesse Jackson and the late Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha, this part of the world would have been spared the horrors now consuming it. Thousands of children would have been saved from death, amputations and hunger. Millions now spent on peacekeeping forces would have gone to development instead. But the foundations of terror and anarchy in Sierra Leone were firmly laid in Liberia when convenience and prejudice demanded that those who had destroyed societies were the best to lead them. From then onwards, the RUF rebels were convinced that power was theirs if they emulated the terror and strategies of their creators and sponsors in Monrovia.
This appeasement of those capable of instituting terror for personal dividends has lead to continued regional insecurity as the flames of war flare again in Liberia. With fighting re-ignited in the country three years after much hailed elections, the UN may again be drawn in to handle the catastrophe that would have been unnecessary had courage and justice prevailed as the guidelines in the resolution of the Liberian crisis. This was not the case. Terror and theft were rewarded, making them appealing tools for others such the RUF to apply in their own quest for power and wealth.
But the UN decision gives us the conviction that individuals who perpetuate horrors in the name of politics and personal wealth can no longer walk around in liberty, mingling with people of decency. It tells us that the nail is now firmly hammered on the belief that one cannot commit atrocities, leave societies in ruins and then go free to enjoy the loot acquired from the blood of the helpless. This is why we are hopeful that UN tribunal will bring to justice not only the RUF rebels and their leaders, but also those who have created them, led them, and protected them. Justice in Sierra Leone will be incomplete without Charles Taylor explaining to the world why he has created so many amputated children while his own children live in luxury acquired from the terrifying experiences of the children of Sierra Leone. He must tell the world why thousands of people have been killed just to support his lavish life-style and maintain his criminal entourage. He must explain why traditional societies, towns and villages have been uprooted and to feed his insatiable taste for wealth. He must, above all, tell the world why he has driven Sierra Leone centuries back in socioeconomic and political developments.
The scars left on Sierra Leone by Taylor's greed and insensitivity cannot be erased by trying the RUF alone. He is part and parcel of the RUF, its godfather and chief patron. Without him, there would have been no RUF. Liberians may have endorsed his brand of politics sealed in terror and theft by singing, "You killed my ma, you killed my pa, I will vote for you." But the extension of this lunacy to another society is inexcusable. Only public accountability for what Mr. Taylor has done to Sierra Leone and its people will set the record straight and lead to justice. While he argues that his "national security will be jeopardized by the trial, Sierra Leone as a nation has disintegrated, its national security now a phantom.
If justice is blind in this trial, then it will not see presidents, but criminals and accomplices. It will ignore Taylor's claims of "national security." It will bring the accomplices of the RUF to justice. Only through this will the message spread that the conscientious world can longer watch while a few individuals live and feed on terror using politics as the excuse.
On this note, we give thanks to the Almighty for finally exposing those who commit crimes against humanity.
For the Greater Good of the African People throughout the World, We Remain their Devoted Servants.
Issued this 15th day of August, 2000, in the City of Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Signed: Siahyonkron Nyanseor
The Liberian Democratic Future is a think-tank, democratic,
and Research organization devoted to Liberia and Africa's democratic
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