Liberty Party political leader Charles Brumskine has expressed regret for the manner in which the advocacy of the 1994 Status of Forces Agreement with ECOMOG was handled.
Counselor Brumskine said that although everything was done in accordance with law, both international and domestic, and in the interest of the people of Liberia and the peacekeepers, he did not take the time to explain to the people why the status of forces agreement was necessary.
This, Cllr. Brumskine said created the opportunity for his political friends to create the impression that the agreement was intended to place ECOWAS peacekeepers under the military command of then Councilman Charles Taylor, to the exclusion of the other councilmen, and that the SOFA caused ECOMOG to leave Liberia.
He was testifying Thursday at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia ongoing Thematic and Institutional Inquiry Public Hearing on the Contemporary History of the Conflict at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion in Monrovia.
"This has been of great personal pain and sorrow to me. But the characterization of my role in the SOFA, for some was simply politics! However, I have since forgiven those who have demonized me over the years," Mr. Brumskine said.
Contrary to the disinformation about the agreement, Brumskine said, the SOFA is a concept of international law whereby the terms of engagement of foreign troops stationed in the foreign country are defined. He said the idea of the SOFA being executed did not originate from Liberia
Cllr. Brumskine said the status of forces agreement was not the reason why ECOMOG peacekeeping forces left Liberia and had nothing to do with the restructuring of the Armed Forces of Liberia.
"Why the Armed Forces were not restructured by the LNTG, I do not know. But if one wanted the answer to a legal question, upon the coming into existence of the constitutional government, the President did become responsible for the Armed Forces as its Commander in Chief. But at no point was I either consulted by the Government of Liberia or did I advise any of the Councilmen or former President Taylor, or otherwise had anything to do with the restructuring or non-restructuring of the Armed Forces of Liberia."
Under the theme: "Understanding the Conflict Through its Principal Events and Actors," the ongoing hearings are addressing the root causes of the conflict, including its military and political dimensions.
The hearings are focused on events between 1979 and 2003 and the national and external actors that helped to shape those events.
The TRC was agreed upon in the August 2003 peace agreement and created by the TRC Act of 2005.
The TRC was established to "promote national peace, security, unity and reconciliation," and at the same time make it possible to hold perpetrators accountable for gross human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law that occurred in Liberia between January 1979 and October 2003.