‘War’ in Liberia’s Human Rights Community – Jerome Verdier Picks Bone with Hassan Bility, Others

MONROVIA: Tidings looking good for the Liberian civil society amid signs that war and economic crimes court is in earnest edging out of the horizon, something some observers describe as “harvest time” for Liberians who are in the human rights ecosystem, it seems power play in developing. Though it is not clear what has provoked the looming attack, the first shrapnel has been released by the former TRC Chairperson Jerome Verdier and Executive Director of International Justice Group (IJC), targeting the Executive Director of the Global Justice Research Project (GJRP), Hassan Bility, and other civil society groups, Civitas Maxima and The Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA). He made a couple of grave allegations, as The Analyst reports.

The Analyst is in possession of a communication dated May 12, 2024 under the signature of former Liberia Truth and Reconciliation Commission Chairman Jerome Verdier addressed to the Attorney General of the Republic of Liberia. Verdier, in the letter, called for the investigation of his civil society counterparts who, he stated, are involved with advocacy “bearing a significant appearance of impropriety bordering on fraud, criminality, a gross miscarriage of justice and other acts which have adversely and irreparably affected the livelihood of several individuals, in Liberia and abroad”.

He wrote: “We hasten to inform you and thereby request your kind intervention and investigation of a group of ‘human rights’ organizations whose advocacy for justice has proceeded, rather wrongly, bearing a significant appearance of impropriety bordering on fraud, criminality, a gross miscarriage of justice and other acts which have adversely and irreparably affected the livelihood of several individuals, in Liberia and abroad.”

He named the organizations as the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA), California, USA; Civitas Maxima, Switzerland represented in Liberia by their proxy and protégé organization, Global Justice Research Project (GJRP), represented by its head, Mr. Hassan Bility in Monrovia, Liberia.

The former TRC Chairperson, who is also Executive Director of  International Justice Group (IJG), said the organizations have set out as their mission—the prosecution of war crimes outside the territory of Liberia—because of the lack of action in Liberia to hold Liberia war criminals accountable in Liberia or seek justice of over four (4) million Liberian war victims and survivals.

He noted that while this may seem encouraging considering the reality that war crimes are crimes against humanity which incensed the conscience and sensibilities of all humanity that should never be ignored or compromised, the tactics, techniques and modus operandi of these organizations, allegedly, has been anything but dishonorable and suspect.

“Shrouded in secrecy,” Verdier further alleged that “they recruit unsuspecting witnesses in Monrovia and coach them to give false testimonies and lie under oath in courts in the US and Europe with cash inducements and promises of refugee resettlements in these countries.”

Continuing, he stated: “As much as we became aware and capable, we challenged some of those persecutions as malicious and assisted the defense teams in those cases to challenge the ostentatious lies and rebuffed the falsehoods which have tended to and did indeed compromise the criminal justice infrastructure of those countries and prohibitively undermined the global pursuit of transparent and substantial justice.”

He named what he called the “tip of the iceberg” of sample cases that “are outlandishly stunning and legally offensive”.

Verdier cited the case of Michel Desaedeleer, a Belgium Citizen national, who he alleged was falsely accused of war crimes and dealing in “Blood Diamonds”.

According to the noted Liberian human rights advocate, Michel became mentally distraught and devastated by this allegation and the destruction of his family, thus leading him to committing suicide whilst under detention.

Continuing investigations after his death revealed that the allegations were false and unfounded, he alleged.

Another case referenced was that of Laye Camara. Verdier said this person was also falsely accused of war crimes, in New Jersey.

“Upon investigation, it was realized that because he refused to play to the gimmick of Hassan Bility, he was reported to prosecutors who chose to charge him on the bogus affidavits presented by Bility, who, it was discovered, was the very one who recruited Camara into the LURD Rebel Group as a child soldier.

“The case has been on suspension for two years awaiting ‘more evidence’ demanded by the court to sustain the false charges proffered by the Prosecution founded on the false information proffered by these fake advocates.”

Reportedly, Verdier alleged, Bility has submitted false responses on his US Visa documents by lying about his own criminal involvement in committing human rights violations, recruiting child soldiers, his own affiliation with a warring faction, when he served as a rebel leader.

Another case for which he wants the Liberian justice system to investigate the referenced civil society organizations is that of Retired General Moses Wright who, Verdier further alleged, was falsely accused of war crimes based on unverified testimonies recorded in the annals of the TRC.

Verdier alleged that in that case, witnesses were recruited to embellish the unverified and uncorroborated testimony in court.

“Working with the Defense, the falsehood was exposed, and the court demanded more information than the prosecution promised to bring,” he said, adding, “two years later there is no proof that any new information will be forthcoming, as there is none.”

The International Justice Group Executive Director also presented to the Justice Ministry of Liberia is one about Varfley Dolleh who, he said, was approached in New Jersey to provide false testimony against a war crime suspect but allegedly declined to cooperate because he wouldn’t lie and told them he did not know the suspect.

Verdier said Dolleh was threatened with “immigration consequences” but was unmoved by the threats, refused to cooperate and was placed in immigration withholding and eventually deported to Liberia for committing no crime whatsoever, but simply for refusing to cooperate with a criminal enterprise.

According to Verdier, Dolleh has been indefinitely separated from his family and career potentially ruined.

He then cited the case of Agnes Reeves Taylor – former wife of Former President Charles G. Taylor who was accused in Britain, The United Kingdom of war crimes based on salacious and very bizarre details of public execution of former Margibi County Superintendent, Amos Bohn, a close relative of Former First Lady Nancy B Doe.

The former LTRC wrote: “This information provided the subtext for a false narrative pitching the NPFL (predominately Gios and Minos) against the Krahn ethnic ruling tribe.  Fake witnesses were adduced describing the scenarios, military hardware, weaponry, and uniform Mrs. Taylor was alleged to have worn when she killed the alleged victim in Execution Style. The British War Crimes Unit wasn’t convinced and eventually released the accused person after two years of solitary confinement.  It was however uncovered that Mr. Bohn, the allegedly deceased victim is well and alive in the very Great Britain, England.”

Verdier also brought up the case of Gibril Massaquoi in his complaint letter for the Ministry of Justice. According to him, Gibril was tried in Finland on yet another bizarre and widely made-up story that Massaquoi who was a prosecution’s witness in the Sierra Leone Special Court against whom the allegations alleged that while in the protective custody of the UN Peacekeeping Force, be left the protective custody of the Peacekeepers, travelled into Liberia, wage a war and committed very heinous crimes after the commission of which, re returned to the custody of the UN Peacekeepers.

“The missing link in the prosecutor’s tale is that they overlooked or were not aware that Massaquoi was under protective custody leading the Finnish Court to consider them to be liars a lengthy trial which brought the court to Liberia at one point in time,” Verdier alleged.

He told the Minister of Justice in his complaint that the activities of the three human rights organizations “are clearly a criminal conspiracy to fraudulently and maliciously prosecute individuals for war crimes and/or Visa fraud based on their scheme to coach witnesses to provide false statements and/or false testimony for personal and financial gain.”

Werner, he alleged, has amassed nearly $4 million US dollars over the past decade from unsuspecting donors and governments including grants from the United Nations.

“All of this points to a purposeful, deliberate egregious attempt at commit the worst crime there could ever be to pervert justice for personal gains. The motivation here is anything but altruistic,” he charged, and added: “What will induce a man or an institution purporting to advocate justice, to inflict so many injustices and harm upon innocent personalities through nefarious means.”

Granted that some of accusers were perpetrators, Verdier noted, “they deserve justice administered under the principles of transparency and substantial justice, consistent with the rule of law, which certainly does not accept the practice of perpetrating lies and coaching and fabrications of evidence – this is atrocious!”

He concluded: “Honorable Minister, we submit that  Bility and company are fraudsters and a candid, intrusive investigation will review evil motives and expose criminal intent, illicit financial gains and illegal assets accumulations and eventually bring relief and recovery to the several victims of these crimes.”

Bility and others accused by Verdier could not be reached for comments, as The Analyst continues to make effort to get their side of the matter.

The establishment of war and economic crimes court is imminent and there are reports that Liberian groups, or human rights institutions working on Liberia’s war-related abuses over the years could be tipped and factored in for handsome support by foreign doors and partners to assist in the prosecution of cases.

It is not known if this latest outburst by Verdier has anything to do with rivalry for attention that is to set in as most Liberian civil society groups are poised to make the best out of the “harvest time” coming for them in wake of the establishment of the war and economic crimes court.

2 Comments
  1. While it might be the truth and the activities reportedly complained about by Cllr. Verdier might have some merit, nevertheless, the characters, individuals and names highlighted and named in Cllr. Verdier’s complaint are not SAINTs. Mrs. Agnes Reeves Taylor, Varfley Dolleh, Gibril Massaquoi, General Moses Wright, and other referenced in his complaint, were and are key and unquestionable war actors in the nearly 15 years of death, destruction and financial and economic crimes in Liberia. Moreover, it is troubling to note that Cllr. Verdier might have been reportedly using the work of the TRC to put forth himself as a private witness in cases wherein Liberians and foreign born were accused for having allegedly encouraged and committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Republic of Liberia. EACH AND EVERY MEMBER OF THE TRC, NEEDED TO STAY AWAY FROM GIVING TESTIMONIY IN COURT.

    Members of the TRC took OATH to ensure that justice is done and to stay away from acting as private witnesses for war actors and reportedly accused war and economic criminals. Muchmore, the burden of proof rests on Cllr. Verdier and IJG to firmly establish that the witnesses he named and referenced were tempered with, bribed and offered other gifts to tell lies to convict people. Since Cllr. Verdier and the IJG were never a party or actors when the alleged witnesses were prepared, and advised to LIE, all his claim and perhaps his entire complaint are mere allegations that require strong and sustainable proof. WHERE ARE THOSE PIECES OF PROOF?

    Honestly, we do not know and we do not have working relationship with the human rights agencies referenced and named by Cllr. Verdier, but, Mrs. Agnes Reeves Taylor, Varfley Dolleh, General Moses Wright, and Gibril Massaquoi, are key actors in the nearly 15 years of war in Liberia. Their actions and contributions to the Liberian war, death, destruction and the economic benefits they might have individually or collectively sustained are vivid, robust, unquestionable, and clear.

    WHAT IS THERE FOR LIBERIA’S MINISTRY OF JUSTICE TO INVESTIGATE?

    Frederick A.B. Jayweh, Esq.
    Counsellor-At-Law & International Affairs Director
    Africa Center for Law& Human Rights, Inc.
    77 Broad St, 3rd Floor, Presbyterian Bldg
    Monrovia, Liberia
    fjayweh.criss@outlook.com
    Mobile: 720-731-7994

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