When I first came across Mr. Chorpie Charlie’s article, titled: “Hostile Intellectualism: The Case of Another Mis-educated Liberian Lawyer”, there were two immediate thoughts that arrested my attention.
(1) That because Mr. Charlie has failed to deny the validity of the issues raised in my article, “Which Court has the Power to try Mr. Taylor”, he has outrightly and knowingly admitted to their truthfulness and legal soundness. Therefore, his concerns deserve no further answer. Because, this is what the law of evidence calls the failure to deny a statement well pleaded amounts to an admission.
(2) That because most likely its seems to appear from all indications that Mr. Charlie is bemused and bewildered as to what constitutes a national sovereign statehood, when might such status be interfered with and perhaps forfeited, there is a great and obvious need to file the attending answer to his overly traumatic and robust reaction. After settling for the latter, I am compelled to ask the question, what has Mr. Charlie sold to the public?
Although the above question might seem somehow simple, nonetheless, it is deeply rooted into what Mr. Charlie thinks constitutes a sovereign statehood, his understanding of subject-matter jurisdiction v. territorial jurisdiction, universal jurisdiction v. the power of a court created by the UN to issue orders to indict, arrest and try a sovereign sitting president for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, and moreover, since the need to bring Mr. Taylor to trial for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity is too costly to be left to be determined by fictional and experimental intellectualism, hence these returns.
By the way, what really is Mr. Charlie selling to his reading public and perhaps his community of followers? Is he really selling to the world that the UN has no power and authority to indict, arrest and commit to trial war and human-heart-eating criminals like Mr. Charles G. Taylor and anyone else who might have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Liberia or Sierra Leone? Or, does he really believe that the UN has no legal power to arrest and try a war criminal, in this case Mr. Taylor? I hope that this is not the case and that Mr. Charlie has just simply misinterpreted and miscomprehended the intent and purpose of customary international law relative to sitting presidents who become war criminals.
But if the contrary is true as has been wrongly and erroneously represented in his article, “Does the Sierra Leone’s War crimes Court have Jurisdiction over Liberia,” then and in that case, because it is dangerous and forever wrong to sit by and allow the world to drank deep from the mis-constructed well of reasoning of Mr. Charlie’s deconstruction and reconstruction of the intent and purpose of customary international law relative to bringing war criminals to trial, then this writer, remains adamant, conservative, incorruptible, firm and uncompromising as to the power and legal authority of the UN to indict, arrest and try Mr. Taylor and any of his die-hard followers who might have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Liberia or Sierra Leone; whether he sat as the president of Liberia or not.
Moreover and because the necessary legal citations needed to support the right of the UN to indict, arrest and commit to trial every and all war criminals, to include Mr. Taylor, were here-in-before contained in the article, “Which Court has the Power to Try Mr. Taylor", this paper will not waste the time of Liberians nor the reading public by attempting to restate those same and identical legal provisions, but rather will at this stage choose to incorporate them by reference and by operation of law, they being supportive of the foundation upon which this article and the past are firmly constructed.
I say this to say that because the issues raised in my article, “Which court has the Power to Try Mr. Taylor" , are clear, forceful and articulate, there is nothing else needed to be said, except to tell the brutal and uncompromising truth as the history and the facts represent and present them, the Republic of Taylor-land.
But, if this is the only reason why Mr. Charlie charges and believes that this writer believes in the manifest destiny theory, lacks the knowledge of the culture and tradition of Liberia, and knows nothing about the complex happenings in Liberia, (as if to say that the burning down of villages and villagers in their homes in Liberia and Sierra Leone by Mr. Taylor and his evil lieutenants were so complex or difficult to understand and comprehend), and at most, this writer might sound and write like the-know-it-all-Lawyer, then in that case, this writer, will again restate and reemphasize that if it be for just for telling this material and brutal truth alone, then, he will rather choose to remain inflexible, immovable, obstinate and forever intransigent when it comes to telling and marketing the truth relative to the UN’s right and authority to indict and try war criminals; Mr. Taylor being of no special treatment, because he is certainly awful war criminal.
Another immaterial and amusing charge documented against this writer by Mr. Charlie, is the mindset and type of lawyering carried out in Liberia and against powerless and voiceless Liberians and foreign nationals, or better still, that this writer might have used his lawyering skills to mistreat the citizens and residents of Liberia, just like what Mr. Taylor and other warlords consciously did in Liberia. To the contrary and far be from the mis-conceptualized and mis-thinking of Mr. Charlie relative to this writer’s application of his lawyering skills while in Liberia, the records are there to forcefully and accordingly prove Mr. Charlie wrong and forever incorrect. But rather, this lawyer fearlessly stood up firm for justice and due process of law in Liberia.
While in Liberia and for a little over 11 years, consistently, the law offices of this writer, Civil Rights Association of Liberian Lawyers, Inc., together with other fine and principled Liberian attorneys risked themselves to provide legal services free-of-charge to the under-privileged and under-served Liberians and residents who were falsely indicted, arrested and committed to jail by Mr. Taylor and his bunch rogue officials.
Just to highlight and mention a few occasion wherein this writer provided legal services for Liberians and foreign nationals, for a little over 11 years or more, that is, immediately after September 18, 1998, this writer risked his life to provide free-of-charge legal services to General Joseph Jarlee and14 other military officers of the Armed Forces of Liberia, (AFL) who were falsely charged by Mr. Taylor with committing the crime of SEDITION, an offense that is punishable by public execution under the Uniform Code of Military Justice(UCMJ). The trial of this case lasted for a little over 18 months without any charge to the accused. To our credit, 9 out of the 15 AFL officers were found not guilty by Taylor handpicked military court. Please see local daily newspapers of Liberia, after Sept 1998.
Again, Mr. Taylor been very determined to ensure and make sure that no one else would dare challenge his power and rule in Liberia, he went ahead and again dished out charges of SEDITION against Col. Joseph Chelly, and 13 other AFL officers growing out of the same September 18, 1998, killing that Mr. Taylor intentionally started in Liberia as a means of setting himself free of any further opposition coming from out of Grand Gedeh County. Again, our services were also accorded these men free-of-charge and later set free without further trial by Mr. Taylor; although wrongly arrested and detained for a little over 24 months.
The Press Union, its members, human rights advocates, the5 internationally known and acclaimed British Journalists and other local newspapers and their representatives were also indicted arrested and detained by Mr. Taylor. Again, this writer and his law office take the credit for proudly representing and ensuring legal representations free-of-charge to all of these individuals and institutions separately and distinctly. Again the Liberian daily newspapers contained the facts relative to our free-of-charge legal representations.
Much more, the record further shows that anyone else or institutions that Mr. Taylor could ever dream of and thought of to been obstructive to his evil rule and power, he falsely indicted, arrested and detained, sometimes, beyond 5 months or to include 2 or more years. This writer and his law office again provided free-of-legal-services to these individuals and institutions. By the way, this writer and his law office are also trusted and credited with representing the NEAL DEAL MOVEMENT, when Mr. Taylor tried to shut them down for being excellently progressive. By the way, the list could go on.
If just to dare mention few of the above lawyering services carried out by this writer, to Mr. Charlie, would mean being a-know-it-all-lawyer, then and in that case, I firmly stand by the spirit and letter of my paper,” Which Court has the power to Try Mr. Taylor”.
These are few amongst the type of lawyering that this writer and other well known and respected Liberian attorneys carried out under Mr. Taylor’s watch, while some so-called social and political critics were publicly and consciously being busy associating themselves with Mr. Taylor and his regime to burn down villages and villagers in Liberia. The Carter Camp and the Dupo-Road Cowfield separate killings by Mr. Taylor and some so-called social and political critics, represent just a few of these evil acts. The bell of justice and accountability will surely ring against these war criminals trust me.
If for these and the foregoing lawyering skills and the provision of services to fellow Liberians by this writer would be termed as not knowing the culture and tradition of Liberia, then and for these services, this writer will rather choose to be anyway considered by Mr. Taylor and his supporters as being jejune or callow for relentlessly and resolutely telling and selling the brutal truth. By the way, what is a sovereign statehood?
What is a Sovereign Statehood?
Under customary international law, states are usually and internationally believe to come in different sizes, shapes and forms. They might also have variations amongst themselves in populations, economic strengths and perhaps development. More over, national sovereign statehood might also vary tremendously in their cultures, political systems, educational levels, natural resources and perhaps many other attributes.
Nevertheless, in order to be considered and treated as a sovereign state, customary international law provides and demands:
(1) That such would-be state must have a permanent population.
(2) That such to-be recognized state must have a defined territory.
(3) That such to-be considered and recognized state must have a government that is willing and capable to protect its citizens and residents.
And lastly, such a would-be-state must have the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. Carter and Trimble, International Law, 3 rd edition, pp.462-463.
Prior to the bloody and during the rogue regime of Mr. Charles G. Taylor, did Liberia maintain a permanent population, a defined territory, the capacity to enter into relations with other states, and a government that was ready and prepared to protect its citizens and residents?
The answer to this question is a resounding YES. Indeed national as well as international record shows that prior to the coming into being of the brutal and blood-letting regime of Mr. Taylor, Liberia had and still continues to have a permanent population, a defined territory, a government with the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states, as well as honored its legal duty and responsibility to protect.
Nonetheless, it was Mr. Taylor and his supporters that caused Liberia to be a failed state and at worst, not having the capacity to enter into relations with other equal sovereign states. Much more in Liberia, under the administration of Mr. Taylor, Liberia for the most part, was considered and perhaps viewed by the international community as to not having a government, because Mr. Taylor and his supporters neglected their governmental duty and responsibility to protect.
Did Liberia lose its rights and responsibility not to have its sovereign statehood interfered with during the regime of Mr. Taylor?
Again the answer to the foregoing question is in the affirmative, because the regime of Mr. Taylor wanted it to be so. After Mr. Taylor and his bunch of rogue officials came to power, they forfeited their sovereign rights and responsibility to protect the sovereign statehood of Liberia. Since Mr. Taylor and his supporters sat up a criminal and killing regime in Liberia, the international community was forced to intervene to assume the duty to protect Liberia and its residents. A sovereign duty and responsibility, that Mr. Taylor forfeited to the international community in desperate exchanged for blood diamonds and raw power.
As the result, the international community, led by Washington was forced to seek a regime change by ordering Mr. Taylor to step down as president of Liberia. Shamefully and disgracefully these orders were accordingly obeyed. To-date Mr. Taylor and his bloody regime represent history. “There use to be a papa in Liberia”, as ordinary Liberians are now accustomed to saying today.
If it is simply being for judiciously telling and selling the truth about happenings in Liberia that has caused Mr. Charlie to charge that this writer is blameworthy and unorthodox, then and in that case, this author would rather choose to remain unrelenting and unremitting. The primitive and bloodletting story of Mr. Taylor and his supporters has to and must always be told; irrespective of what Mr. Charlie and any other supporters of Mr. Taylor might selfishly think and misleadingly conclude.
By the way, as Liberians attempt to close the dark pages of Mr. Taylor and
his bloodletting regime, I will hope that Mr. Chorpie Charlie is not amongst those who killed and burn down villages and villagers locked up in their homes in Liberia. But if the contrary is true, and that he directly acted in consonance with Mr. Taylor to burn down villages and villagers in Liberia, trust me, like any other warlords residing in the U.S., for immigration purposes, he as well is subject to Removal Proceedings to account.
Remember, 1, 000 years will certainly come to an end and the bell of justice will have to ring.
Other articles by Counsellor Frederick A.B. Jayweh, LL.M
About the Author:
Counselor Frederick A.B. Jayweh holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA degree in Biblical Studies) from African Bible College, Bachelor of Laws, (LL.B degree in general law)from the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, University of Liberia, and Master of Laws (LL.M degree in American And Comparative Law) from the University of Denver College of Law, Denver, Colorado.
Also, Counselor Jayweh is a member of the Grand Bassa County and the Supreme Courts Bars, Republic of Liberia, a registered member of the Liberian National Bar Association, and former Executive Director of the Civil Rights Association of Liberian Lawyers, Inc. Presently, Counselor Jayweh lives in Denver, Colorado, and can be reached at; 303-884-2652, or firstname.lastname@example.org.