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The presenter of First Institution of the Thematic and Institutional Hearings was called to the stand and was sworn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth by the TRC Hearings Officer Pastor John Teayah.
Chairman: good morning and welcome. We want to thank you for coming to make this presentation on behalf of the judiciary.
What is your position?
Mr. Nyantee: I am an Associate Magistrate I the judiciary court
The Role of the Judiciary and Security System in Grand Kru County
Judiciary: is one of the main national institutions under which all courts fall and its responsibility is to report lives and property (ies) of the citizens and the state by means of impartially interpreting the original laws of the nation because court in both civil/criminal cases. But the judicial functions by it personnel in the county are extremely different from the other counties and can not effectively dispense justice as required by laws because of the continuous absence from the county by the resident circuit Judge, coupled with the non assignment of judge by the chief justice of the supreme court of the republic of Liberia. The usual action of the judge being absent during each time to unprofessionally try cases that are above their trial jurisdiction is a problem. And as a result of these, the rule of law is respected for the following:
1.No police stating in the county (Police headquarter)
2.No court building (Circuit Court)
3.No correction centre (central prison) and
4.The habitual interference with judicial matters by members of the Executive Branch. See LLCLR pg. 5 section 14.
Human Rights Violations
1.State authority failure to feed the incarcerated inmates in the county
2.Brutality against the persons by state security; and
3.Inhumane attitude of torturing accused person (s). See Article 5 of the Declaration of Human Rights adopted December 10, 1948 (Geneva Assembly)
Security: a protective organization of both able men and women whose function is to serve and protect life and property including the county is relatively calm thru the tireless efforts of UNMIL military and UNPOL with the daily coordination of the Civil Experts. Honorable Commissioners of the TRC Commission, the problem we are faced with is that because of the inadequacies of LNP officers deployed in few areas leaving out the others cause embarrassment for our police and at the result when a case reported by citizens of those areas he evidence in the case is destroyed. Giving no room to the police authority to book any perpetrator (s) to be brought before justice, couple with the following unprofessional behavior of the state security to wit:
1.the alleged raping of girls/women
2.the alleged raping of women by judicial personnel (magistrate) and
3.compromising criminal cases because of money consciousness
The presence of the police authority in the county is necessarily in place by the Liberian government but the function of some of them is not in the best interest of the citizens of Grand Kru and the state as a whole.
In conclusion, Honorable Commissioners and your official entourage, on behalf of the Judiciary, security and in my own name, it is my opportune desire to humbly recommend the following proposed recommendations if accepted by you to be established in the county for implementation. To wit:
1.A county or community based committee be established by the TRC Commissioners in each community or county to
a.Investigate/amicably resolve personal tribal/state's conflicts; and
b.Investigate domestic conflicts between family, husband/wife to avoid too much of court proceedings.
I thank you.
Questions from the Commissioners and the Audience:
Chairman: Thank you for the presentation it had introduced a lot of things on security and human rights and you have advanced some recommendations. And at this time the Commissioners will ask you few questions:
Commissioner Stewart: you talk in your recommendation community based committees to handle and investigate tribal cases; I want to find out to what extent are the offices of the superintendent and the Ministry of Internal Affairs other judiciary offices capable of handling such cases?
Mr. Nyantee: With regards to telling the TRC to assisted in this light reason being that due to some reason beyond the control of the judiciary, in most cases it is delayed for judges to come around in this regards certain things can happen to some communities and for some reasons as this happens and get to court because the police in our areas are not sufficient some of these evidence can be spoil and so we suggested proper to the time of the judiciary of coming in we want you to have this on your plan.
You also talked about the regular absence of the Circuit Judge if he is present lawyers are required, are there lawyers and if they are what kind of difficulties do the common people experience in accessing justice?
Mr. Nyantee: As you asked when ever a judge is here and we discover that all parties to the problem are here with their consolers the it is ease, but as we said in the absence of judge, some of these people like the defense council can not be present in the opening of the term and as a result people are likely accused cases can not be probed into which can delay the cases
What are the traditional methods of resolving such and in what way does it assist the process?
Mr. Nyantee: As we have heard from the TRC for reconciliation where ever there is a problem existing inn a community and if this organization is well organized then they can be called to intervene. If it is true what you told us the accused person can realize his own doing and he can apologize and the community can come in and resolve it.
Commissioner Bull: thank you for coming.
Commissioner Washington: my question is a follow-up I will want you to give us a living example of a case for example we heard that there is an issue of rape which involve police officers, what happens if someone of that issue of someone of that status is involved in such act?
Mr. Nyantee: As it is said in particular of rape, rape being a capital offense, I don't think it is necessary for the community to come in this regards the case must be taken to court and when the judge is not around the case must be taken to the circuit for proper adjudication.
If you do not have that facility, what do you do?
Mr. Nyantee: In cases of capital offense, since magisterial court being the first instance based on the charges from the police stating the rate is prepared after preparing the rant upon the request of the defense for us to accreting the magnitude, we tried it and when discovered that a crime is committed we sent it to the circuit court to bring him under court jurisdiction.
What is the relationship between your office and the local police?
Mr. Nyantee: The police office is the one that duly arrest prepare chat sheet and send the person to court. The court is the one who endorse and see to it that it is true.
I was mainly talking about the relationship in the area.
You know the reason for putting in this request is that in most cases there are people being accused and taken to the police and when they are coming from there that particular case can bring another case and as a result the place can be empty.
Commissioner Konneh: how long have you being a County Anthony for Grand Kru?
Thank you sir standing here is Mr. John N Nayentee and associate justice; I am here because when I was going to work I got a letter from the County Anthony because he was not able to come and so I am not the County Anthony.
We understand that the document that you presented is not prepared by you, in that case are you prepared to answer questions from that document?
Mr. Nyantee: I will answer to the best of my ability, reason being that the County Anthony when ever he is not chanced he can sent me on such occasion, in this regards though he did not inform me I hesitated and I felt that this program needed to be heard so any question opposed to me if I may be able to answer it correctly I will do so.
We know there are problems, but he biggest is how to intemperate our laws, how to implement it. Don't you thing setting up committees and commissions by the government would confirm this question of the problems we have?
Mr. Nyantee: Thank you sir, knowing what suppose to happen, in this case as I said before not being the County Anthony, I am not probe with the authority to act in this position but because he has prepare it and send it lately to me for which I had hesitated, you can even ask the coordinator, however because we want you to succeed, to my believe today his absence will create a problem that is why I am here today to represent him, for I know the judiciary function and as a magistrate I know my function and so in so doing I am here in the place of the county Anthony and so if he was here you would have asked him.
Being a citizen of the community and a functionary who have some experience about the judiciary system of the area, can you tell us from your very idea what is affecting the judiciary system in the county?
Mr. Nyantee: Thank you sir, with reference to what you ask me, no matter how smooth the system is, you know as I said first a judge and a magistrate are in the court and the cases are two, we have criminal and civic in other words civic are easy to deal with but in the line of the criminal case no judge will leave his office to go and do arrest. If there is no officer to arrest, when you some times send the officer the accused refused to come to the court and if you ask for reinforcement from the police he will carry them to make a charge sheet and for the sheet to reach to court, the real case will be changed. This is a great embarrassment on behalf of the court. Further more as we said about correction house, if anyone having to do something and found guilty, the person must be penalize according to law. Incase this person is guilty and you want to carry him to correction house, where do you carry him? Some tomes if you carry him the jailer will come to court and say the person you sent to me has no food and as a result you will see the person outside, this is embarrassing the court.
Generally before the civil war there is one legal principal, that there is no party in the case that can enjoy more then standing before a neutral and impartial judge. In our past war era there has been an addition that those in position should be individual of refine character. With in you area the judiciary personnel in this county including yourself are all people who met these criteria?
Mr. Nyantee: Yes, our county despite of Monrovia and that we can gave this information that come to the county and that it is maybe God is coming in, this is why you may have come as Jesus Christ, during he was certain things had happened but some people have forgotten and then because we want peace in the county which indicate that you are the Jesus in the county and so what ever you tell us we will do it and I think the government will consider us. In view of this as to what we were talking about we still say you should make this possible. If even if our petition will not go through, we will want you to inform the central office for them to do what to do.
I mean if there was anybody among you people who was not a perpetrator?
Mr. Nyantee: Thank you very much, during the war we were not together and so I can not know who is who.
Commissioner Coleman: In the rule of law there are three major elements. In your experience do you believe there are legal reforms that you think will help us in carrying on activities in this County?
Mr. Nyantee: Yes sir, when 1998 what was happening at that time is not happening today reason being that after the war workshops were held encouraging us to forget about the past and even showing us the impact of the rule of law, in this light there is improvement after the war, but the only problem affecting the court is why court can not be respected by the people? Example someone will commit a crime the court will send for him with a rate and he will say I am not coming there and the court will go to the police and the police will bring him but probable a different charge and probable if the case is empty the accused will never respect the court again. So there is progress.
Under what condition does the police change the charge of accuse?
Mr. Nyantee: As I said before we are not there with the police court. 2 or 3 months ago a case from Sass town where a lady came and address the court and was arrested by the magistrate detained in a room in his house. When we receive the case we told her to carry it to the police stating and the magistrate was arrested, having brought sheet the crime was not rape and for the court to charge the case the woman said this not the charge we brought and we made another and send for the magistrate and he refused to come and he said it was not a rape case and when we went to the police station to see the ledger is was a rape case and he escape.
Chairman: thank you very mush for taking up you tome to come. What id the name of the majesty you are talking about?
Mr. Nyantee: He is Martian Namene.
How many police officers do you have in Grand Kru?
Mr. Nyantee: I still want to say I am not the County Anthony.
In all of your experience have there been any political interference in your work and are there cases where the judge misbehaves?
Mr. Nyantee: We have not had such a case, the only time is when the charge sheet is coming from the police office because most of the people do not know the procedure of passing through the police to go to court and they come straight and we tell them to pass through the police. When the chat sheet is coming the case is changed, this is where we have embarrassment.
At this stage we want to thank you very mush for coming to the Commission. Is there anything last that you want to say before you leave?
Mr. Nyantee: Thank you sir, I don't have much to say, I still want to thank God who have guided me to come and who is still protecting you and still protecting you until you leave and pray that you purposed of coming here will be achieved.
Institutional/Thematic Hearings Barclayville City, Grand Kru County
Presentation made by: Mrs. Anna J. Wreh
The presenter of Second Institution of the Thematic and Institutional Hearings was called to the stand and was sworn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth by the TRC Hearings Officer Pastor John Teayah.
Topic: Women Gender issues pre-war and post war: challenges and opportunities presented by: Coordinator Gender Equity and, Women and children Development
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I now take this occasion to welcome our eight commissioners into Barclayville city, Grand Kru county, we also give thanks to God for the restoration of peace and lasting peace in Liberia, the international community for their numerous sacrifices and congratulate the TRC commissioner family and collaborators for holding this very important and necessary forum which enable the women of Grand Kru count y to speak and recommend to the National Government through their officers.
My task today is to make a presentation on the topic "Women's Gender issues challenges and opportunities "pre-war and post-war for subsequent discussions and action when necessary. For the purpose to achieving our objectives, I will highlight on issues of women's pre-war and post -war situations, to be undertaken by Government, International and National Organizations, and recommended actions for a way forward.
Pre- war situation
According to pre-war statistics the women of this county engaged themselves in the follow activities:
-Teachers of Primary schools;
-Local leaders of communities;
-Trained and certificated midwifes;
-Support community organizations to established credit facilities (Locals) for women groups:
-Women were property owners;
-Develop a community policy on women farmers for increased productivity' food security and sustainable livelihood,
-Ensure the establishment of income generation activities that include agriculture cash cropping,
-Women were mothers, wives, caretaking, and county leadership to be specific (Madam Kay Jorry who was superintendent during Doe's administration).
The protracted civil war has resulted in considerable disruption of our human development, the lost of livelihood for whole communities, wide spread destruction of public and private properties, as well as of physical and social infrastructures.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Women and girls of this county were advanced breadwinners to husbands and children, lovers and disable parents, caretakers, protectors of human life's and continue to play an essential role in the development of sustainable livelihood. It is important to note that women and girls in this regard also continue to face an increasing threat for safe and health environment this includes various types of physical abuse received from war fighters
-raped number of women, raped uncountable
-exposure to HIV/AIDs
-Early adult hood
-looting was their objectives
The astounding facts, that unveil themselves from these experiences , can be seen in terms of the high levels of teenage pregnancies in many communities, illiteracy fate among women and girls continue to increase.
Challenges and opportunities
Challenges: Firstly, one can not solidify peace without reconciliation. Reconciliation encompasses all political, social, and facilitation divisions. We are therefore please that we have set our first priority objective, the promotion of reconciliation, solidarity and healing among women of Grand Kru. The hope is that Grand kru women at this meeting will see how best we can further promote this emerging culture.
Secondly, one can not solidify peace without the practice of good Governance in all its manifestations. I will touch o two interesting lasted aspects: Governance and rule of Law.
This period of recovery and rehabilitation which has the full support and cooperation of the international community provides support to technical material and human provides the best opportunity for the formation of policies develops national gender policy and plan that will ensure that all critical areas of the universal declaration of human rights are programmed for and implemented. This regard again has lead to more opportunities for dialogue and representations. This county can now boast of having her first female superintendent. After 14years brutal conflict, the county Gender coordinator also a female, the land commissioner, and secured others in our chiefdoms.
Women of Grand Kru, your destiny lies directly in your hands. Take up the challenges and move forward in Unity and peace for a new Liberia.
1.Better education for the children
2.Skill training programs for war affected youth
4.Medical assistance for rape victims
5.Extension of micro-credit scheme currently operating for the urban and rural poor in the county.
6.Trauma healing counseling
7.Reparation for women victims, especially widows with children.
8.ensure the development of skill in leadership and decision making to enhance community participation,
9.Advocate and support the enhancement and full enforcement at laws against violence against women sexual and other forms of arrestment in all places at all times , and
10. The establishments of a war crime court of special court like that of Sierra Leone.
Thank you all.
Questions from the audience and the Commissioners
Commissioner Bull: In your statement you mention that NPFL and Model looted, raped, women and ect, Were they the only two forces that the women of Grand Kru encounter? Because, in the testimonies we have here state that LPC came here. We want to know because your documentations did not mention the name of LPC. We do not know whether it was an omission or LPC did not come here? But since the women are here, can they tell us?
Presenter: I am sorry, it was an omission. Yes it happened Model came they raped and they looted.
From that statement, would I be right to say that various factions came in to Grand Kru there were few citizens in Grand Kru who was sympathetic to one faction and maybe against another?
Presenter: Is truth when NPFL came, our children joined and they didn't treat us bad. They protected us. Is LPC that came and killed us.
Also as a speaker, you came and spoke on behalf of the women. Do you know the leader, the over all leader of LPC?
Presenter: Will, with LPC, they never had their base in Grand Kru. They used to come through Grand Kru. They used to run from there and come to Sass town hit and go back to Sinoe.
Do you know the general leader for NPFL? You the speaker read the paper, maybe someone in the women group can answer.
Presenter: NPFL was lead here by General James Wontu, and in Grand Cess, Peter Cooper as one of his commanders and one Gadafee as one of his commander in Woelahun. After then came our own boys, William Toe, Sasa and others. They were doing too much killing so, our boys were forced to go for training and come take the gun from them.
Commissioner Stewart: You talked about quit a numerous of things. And I will talk about some specify thing, so as to get a clear picture. It will be helpful for us to know generally the percentage of women, young girls' enrollment in school?
Also the incident of raped, for example, how many of our girls were raped and how many needed medical attention. How many women are employee and what kind of facilitates will women need? Also concerning reconciliation
Presenter: Firstly the establishment of a war crime court in Liberia. We decided to inject this into our presentation, because we thought from this process of the TRC hearing, that these perpetrators were going to be brought in front of us where questions could be asked and answers given, but is not like that. So we feel that where they are, they are hearing us, but not taking it serious. Then they go about to do more. So we feel when this court is establish in Liberia, and people are taken there, it will also help to stop the criminal rate and also stop the war. The number of women and girls rape. As I said early, the number of rape is so huge that we felt so insulted to mention into our presentation. The one I saw in my area when the war was on and I was in hidden, six women were raped. And two died right on the spot. A lady from Dorbor district told me that twelve women were raped and some did not even come back. So we can even tell weather they survival or they are somewhere.
We come to educational facilities. Grand Kru being a area that is enable to road, in this post war there are some community that are not benefiting from educational facilities, because car can not reached there. So when the materials come, they stop right in Barclayville with us and some areas where cars can reach like Trent, they enter from Grand Kru from Maryland, Grandcess, Woelaboe, Barclayville, Keenly town something, our brothers and sisters from that side are not benefiting. Because the mandate from the NGOs is no one is allow to tote a load. Because most of the times they themselves do the distributions so they will not allow children from that side to come and take load copybooks, or food supplies like, burger-wheat they give to the children, So all the benefits are not reaching to them. So the benefits remain right here with us, where cars can reach. So that's the problem we are facing here.
The Micro credit for women, because of what happen to us during the war, all of our properties, facilities were taking away so, we will love to engage ourselves in the micro credit to help move our lives better, or regain our status.
Commissioner Washington: You mention certain kind of violation, You did provide one or two information but to get a clear picture, would you tell us how the community was affected?
Presenter: Okay, during the war women were rape, women were taken away by rebels, things were looted, our husbands were killed before us, and some even went through unwanted pregnancy from raped.
What did the community do? What happen to lives of those people?
Presenter: Well, we all know the situation in Grand Kru, we are venerable, we don't have health facilities, and poverty rate increased during the war, so no body could help his or her friend. All we did was keep encouraging these people. Some girls felt ashamed they left. Some women couldn't this kind of tress so they left the community
Let's come to the present rape. You mention that even now women are been violated and raped. So presently what are the kind of violation and the kind of people been violated?
Presenter: The human rights violation that took place during group here to the war is still going .example December 1, of last year, a police officer by the name of Pojahro Nagbah raped a lady in Grandcess. And we make a mutational group, make a follow up and we got to know that this identical police was a member of a rebel and a model faction. People saw him as a model fighter in Grandcess, but now he recruited, but now he recruited into the police and this is the attitude still in him. So he raped this lady and she was brought here by her brother from FDI, we went to the police and the police try to defend him by telling us to bring medical certificate. And the age of this lady couldn't permit her to get this certificate, because she was shamed to go to a doctor for certificate she could only produced her under clothes and the fighting make on her.
December 23, another police officer raped a child of 15 years old in Benwon city, and because of the age. She was taken to a medical hospital where she was examine and result proven positive .The case is still pending name of the officer is one David Wortuah.
January19, another police in Benwon city attempted raping another lady called cooper Gaye. The case is pending.
November 2007, on the 21st to the 28th a lady by the name of Theresa Cooper was arrested by the magistrate. This magistrate jailed this lady from the 21st- to the 23rd he joined this lady and raped her. With all of these rape cases, the women of Grand Kru keep on fighting to work alone with the security. The name of this majestic is Matthew Nemily.
All of this happened because there is no judge, no secure court, no correction center. So these people go without being punished. These are some of the human rights problems the women of Grand Kru are facing. Then we come into our own homes, women are still suffering from domestic violence. Women are always beating by men. I have five cases in my office. So these are the violence against women.
When these violation take place, how does the community or husbands response to this?
How women are handled by their husband or community level? Are you getting support from the community levels? Are you
Presenter: The culture of the community can not permit women to report some of these cases. And for the protection group, they are going fine with the women. Among the protection group we have FIND, Gender the head, LDI, the JPC and some times the county Anthony work alone with us, the police were also with us but is like they are drawing back.
All of what you have explained, what is the relationship between the Gender Ministry and your office.
Presenter: Some times we air some of our programs, we have programs through our community radio but because our radio but because we can not reached Monrovia, so most of the time we write to sent in our reports and tell them what is happening in our county. And also in our programs, we educate them about women in the community. And from this, women have been educated about their rights in some rape cases. What we do is we keep writing and keep reporting, we do no t have inter net services or facilities here; I will share with you my annual report. Last year 2007, 13 women were raped we had six attempted raped, we had twenty two domestic violence where two ladies lose their tooth. The other lady is in town she came here for us to take us down Monrovia but she is still here with me so that the husband came to get some money so that we can take her to Monrovia to take off her teeth. So is very difficult as a happen to carry it, and it will have to take time. When it comes to NGOs, on the grand helping victims is very hard and. We don't have NGOs that is doing that. So what we do is, lead them to any near by medical center and try to encourage them by going in the homes talking with the parents talking with the child, and the woman. That's all we do. And make sure that this case reached the police or to the court. And when it gets to the court, they stop them, because in secure court, no judge, no correction center so these perpetrators are all moving about here.
Do you have any case of children who were raped? How have these issues of the war that affected women affected children?
Presenter: Well, most of the times when we women met in our meeting, we discuss family separation. This can also affect children, like when the mother is been separated from the father and the child also separated from the mother it brings about family separations .This child may not get the parental care and education. And some times it affect the child's education .We have children of that in Grand Kru.Women leaving their children. No matter how hard the gravity of the case, we don't encourage that. We keep telling them to go back home and find solutions to their problems. Some children have experience and some are not going to school. The father some where is not willing to support the child.
Can you tell us women who left their husbands, or children who are not with their parent, either the father having another woman or the mother having another husband?
Presenter: Yes I can identify three ladies, but they are far away from us.
Commissioner Coleman: Considering that our population is compressing of 50 percent women, that the rule of law of democracy has been created to protect our rights, as citizen of this country. Ensuring, freedom, liberty, justice for all, considering that the family institution is a small institution raising people of character that can control the rule of law. How can we reconciled the fact even in Africa, that after wars the family institutional infrastructure does not seen to recognized women rights of law, for example, in our society, we notice that women and boys get sexual abuse without getting properly involve into private institution and to protect them properly. The fact also we realized that in our Africa certain that it is unacceptable for one man to have several wives but while is difficult for a woman to have several husbands. So in all how did women feel about within your presentations about
Presenter: We believe so much in our cultural tradition that is hard to do with. Some times we conducted a workshop telling the men about this but they can not stop. Polygamy is part of us, three or five women to a man. So, these are some of the domestic problems we are faced with. Because you can not love all the women at the same time, you will either love the younger one and hit the other one. So what happen to the one in between? That's when you find the problem in the homes, the beating, the neglecting, the discontinue line of support abandonment. So this is what we are faced with and has even come down to us because of our principal in tradition. So it even makes it hard for us, for those of us who wants to adopt the western practice, are still in this. So is hard, is hard to control.
The issues of the family diary, do you pay the diary or you wait?
Presenter: No, most often we meet in the street, if you approach me, if you want me, and I love you I say yes and we went on and on, until death do us part, Until sometimes where a man dies and they say before the family of man who take the children, pay diary before , that's when diary comes in , but family to sit and say you want my child, you should pay diary, or go through tradition no is not like that. That's when you see the family come in with diary business. The family tells you, you want my daughter go and bring her diary and marry her.
Two sometime the family of the women may have a critical issues, that will need a help, that will need support, when she gets into problem she run to the husband so the husband say what we do is, I will use the money that I was going to give you to diary your daughter one time so you can solve some of your problems. So they use this money to solve some of their problems. So that is how we get diary here. It started with our force father now it has come back to us even our children, when our children go on the street, they meet there and it starts from there, it is only by pregnancy that we will know that she's loving to that boy A girl will never come out to say Mama or papa that young boy is loving to me. Only the pregnancy will review the secret. So at last, we have tee age pregnancy, unwanted pregnancy and so on and so on.
Can the women be push in force or is this a recommendation?
Presenter: Well from my point of view, we keep telling the women that this tradition we have to be reduced some. Even thou we are not there to abuse our tradition of culture, but there are some that we have to do away with, so as to build a better society.
Commissioner Konneh: When you were testifying, you said the Liberian people during the Doe administration these were business people they had their own things the war came and spoiled it. I am asking you because we fight to bring peace .what was the contribution of the women?
Presenter: If we had not included Charles Taylor reign, we went through elections1197, and he was elected. The same 1997, he won and was inaugurated as President. Waiting to see what was gong to happen, concerning war. So June 97, 2002 we were still at war and everything we had went away. Even in Grand Kru, I don't know about other counties but when he was President war was all over during his reign. And his boys were looting because everything we had was for Charles Taylor
Commissioner Syllah: Did they rape at the result of the war or after the war?
Presenter: Yes at the result of the war they were raped, these women came from Monrovia to visit their family home. So these women couldn't go in the bushes because they felt they were shining and came from Monrovia. So they stay in town and these boys came and make them their wives, raping them everyday and every night. And at the result they got pregnant. These boys run away. The women born their children and left them and went back home but they keep visiting because they felt insulted to carried the children with them. And they were all Gio boys.
Most often were children affected?
Presenter: Once I left from here to Pleebo, Barclayville halfway, and I saw one on the way with load on the head and asked he said he was not going to school to school he was only living with his uncle and helping him on his sugar cane farm. I met another one but he is a big boy now he's also not going to school, he serving the uncle, so I will say that he's use as a child labor.
Is there anyway the commissioners can help find these children?
Presenter: If you had some times to stay I could sent for them. They are two girls and two boys.
Chairman: we want to thank you very much .It is a challenge. Is there any last word that you will let to give us women?
I am Mamie Gbaya: What we had to say that is just what she has said, because for the past, and we are saying say we want peace and we want reconciliation so what have happen has happen I have no cram. Let bad gone be bad gone. .
Institutional/Thematic Hearings Barclayville City, Grand Kru County
Presentation made by: Jacob Kortie Nyewon DEO
The presenter of Third Institution of the Thematic and Institutional Hearings was called to the stand and was sworn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth by the TRC Hearings Officer Pastor John Teayah.
Chairman: good morning and welcome. We want to thank you for coming to make this presentation on behalf of the judiciary.
Presenter: Thematic Statement of Education made and presented to the honorable body of the Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner TRC by the Grand Kru county educational system (ministry of /Education) locally in the auditorium of the Barclayville central high school, Barclayville, Grand Kru County.
The honorable superintendent, administrative assistant to the superintendent, local government bureaucrats/officials energetic commissioners TRC the United National UNMIL family, the local security apparatus, the press, observers, the elders, chiefs, witnesses, the student populace/body, women group distinguished ladies and gentlemen.
In totality, we bring our warmest greetings from the minister of education Prof. Harry Doe and his deputies of the Grand Kru educational system. We are cognizant of the fact that, this august occasion had opportune to us to express our educational emotions or sentiments. In view of the above mentioned supra, we wish at this juncture to sequentially present our mentioned sentiments into two main categories, pre -post war eras with composition materials resources/ human resources academically.
Pre war era
Before the emergence of our Liberian civil crisis, the educational system at the time in terms of material resources, we had series and serious of impediments. Infrastructurally, most of our school buildings were makeshift, a minute number of concretized structures. Schools in our academic arena at the time were incapacitated, meaning we never experienced or had libraries, laboratories, research materials, recreational center, teachers quarters, except Barclayville central high and the sass town high schools that are concretized though vandalized or looted during the war.
Under this aspect of our usual educational ills, we never had furniture, mimeographing machine, photocopy machines, cabinets, file, folders, tables, desk chairs, staple machines, pins paper clips among other. In short, our Grand Kru educational system prior to the civil war, was highly incapacitated infrastructurally, instructional materials, furniture, laboratories, apparatus, etc.
Second, another crucial and burning academic issue that had been concomitantly with the infrastructural problem is the human resources. This is where teachers were to be trained annually on the basis of qualification. Fortunately and partially, teacher were sent tot eh TTIs for "C", "B" and "AAs" but were not given the opportunity for degree programs. Hence, we had the problem of degrees holders who would man or senior school at the time. Notwithstanding, there were some academic successes in our various schools and minor failures. Therefore, we had quantitative teachers not qualitative teachers at the time, that which resulted to academic doom ness/complacency. The only good aspect of the system is that of the establishment compulsory free educations couple with qualifying teachers.
Post war era
Subsequently, we have entered in the post war era, were they had left behind the scars such as the ruins both infrastructurally and humanly, to the degree that our educational system had completely depleted and diminished that resulted to numerous of student mass failures within the war-torn days and this post war time now. This situation necessitated the reduction your student populations or teachers.
Further, the devastated civil war had created serious academic vacuum, where the limited infrastructures/ human resources were destroyed that we had prior to the same (war). The war had added insult tot injury, where academic malpractices, such as bribery of students, trading with grades by teachers, the philosophy of teach one, eat one, teachers help students to public tests/exams. This school of though is then, considered to be promoting spoil-system instead of merit system.
Before we conclude we want to strongly recommend to the Liberian government though the ministry of educational and our august body TRC that:
1.We need capacity building of the educational system - infrastructural humanly, in order effect effectiveness/ qualitativeness.
2.That medical college is constructed in Grand Kru County, in order to maintain or contain students in Grand Kru and the region (southeastern) in totality so as to promote emulation and interaction.
3.We also want to recommend to you as our emissary to convey to the Liberian government that they should prioritize the road network ensure development to the county.
Questions from commissioners:
Chairman: thank you very much for taking up your time to do these presentations, for giving the prewar, post war and current status of the educational system in this county.
Commissioner Stewart: are you the district educational officer?
Primary Witness: Yes for Barclayville district.
How often or how regularly do your teachers in the district receive their salary or checks?
Primary Witness: Well in the prewar era of course it was a little bit rare, school authorities, the CEO or DEO used to receive salary checks and give it to their immediate deputies for onward distributions to the teachers for the prewar time even though we never had any local banks here where teachers will go to encash their checks so we were constrained to have always gone to Harper where we had a lone private bank headed by the late Bob Walley that was some of the constrained but we use to get our salary checks but there was no local banks so it was a problem to take our teachers from their classes and that were impediments to the operations of our schools. Now the post war, for the post war, no man is perfect but we wish to commend the present government for prioritizing us to the degree the compulsory free primary education as been given as a mandate and so we were told as school administrators along with ministry of internal and the justice ministry that we should effect what they call free and compulsory primary education, we did that sensitize our people, announcements were made from towns to town local town criers were used to dissimilate information and our local radio stations called the voice of Grand Kru, things are little bit improving.
On the second aspect, payment is current even though it is minute but it is current but the only problem that we are suffering from as teacher is that because of bureaucracy for the ministry of education has no power to control and so ministry of finance is always sent here that always pay us but the problem of identification prior to the war many people had national id cards and people also had their own professional id cards if your were a teacher but because the war has shatter everybody the people are highly traumatize some lost their cards and some of them psychological affected and so at this point in time those id cards are not available so right now we are not using id cards per say specifically on the ministry of education and so what is supplementing this issue is that our ministry told us that our teacher was must used their voting id cards and so we are using the voting id cards but yet we as school authorities are not given credence. Like when it comes on the line of someone id cards being dull or may be on the national id cards you are using your country name or indigenous name and may be on your checks you have your English name these are problems. How do you reconcile the name of the on the national id cards and the one on the check like Nyonwon Kortie and the one on the check is Jacob Kortie Nyewon, so that's the problem also we are facing with the pay team. And when it comes to the line of encashment the central always send a team to en-cash our checks but because of this ID card system we are always being exploited in a sense that you have pay certain percentage 5%, 10% we are at their mercy. On the line of payment it is current but the process in getting those payments is also a problem.
Then there are so many educational privileges that people closer to Monrovia are benefiting from as compare to us there is only one teacher institute in this region situated in the WRTTI, Webo Kaweakan other institutions have been benefiting like the CUC, KRTTI, WVSTC and some educational related programs like LED, like LACOSEH, and these programs have been conducted but we have been isolated. So from 2000 I can remember we have had only four phases, presently I am a language arts facilitator at the WRTTI I serve there from 2000 to 2001 that was the last phase in fact and since then there has not been any other phase again. And so most of our schools are mend with unqualified teachers even though they are yearning to go there and we are wishing for them to go and capacitate themselves. Secondly because we don't have advance college with educational programs except technical programs is also a problem to us and the little ones we have here only cater to "C" certificate holders so we are saying that those colleges to should absorb some educational programs in the regions so as maintain them in the region instead of going to Monrovia for these qualifications and eventually they don't come back.
How do you get your teaching materials like just yesterday president Bush denoted 10,000 desk and some text books, how do you see yourself fitting into such arrangement?
Primary Witness: I must say for our old people they are doing well they have been sensitize and they are responding to the new educational system I must commend them for that and we have an increases in student enrollment but on the contrary on the line of school facilities as you have just said, we are the highest institution of learning here in this region, now if you enter our classes there are no desks not seats we are improvisonal means like local materials like baboons for benches not to even mentioned library, laboratory and the like, there are no prescribe text books and also rare to get supplementary books. One of the things is the is teachers' quarter for teachers that would be coming here to render some services to us for some of these subjects like physics and chemistry there is no qualify teachers so we are using the available. On many occasion we have approached many qualify one but how will they come when there is no teacher's quarter. So on the line of school facilities we are still in the colonial days and this is why we are saying that we are in the dungeon and we need to be resurrected
Commissioner Syllah: how many high schools do you have in here presently?
Primary Witness: We have one high school here called the Barclayville Central High School since 1963 Grand Cess high school and sass town high school. And they are all public high schools.
Commissioner Konneh: how many junior in the whole county?
Well I can't tell the CEO is not here right now
What is the salary issues look like in your schools?
Primary Witness: We making a uniform salary and now it has increase up to three thousands so my janitor and I the DEO making the same salary still exist, but we are working on the merit system issues.
You think what is the difference between the government salary and the private school salary?
Primary Witness: Like the catholic schools here their function are autonomous so here government salary is above here.
You talk about teacher facility for those teachers that are here or for those that will be coming to the county?
Primary Witness: You Tubman was very educated he developed this idea of Pisco was one of them in 1976 when I graduated, the idea of expatriate to be brought here is far fetch we want government to use us that why we say in service, so we are recommending the extension of the teacher college and teacher quarters facilities in here.
Commissioner Washington: what is the ratio of boys to girls' education here despite government efforts to boost girls' educations?
Primary Witness: Always the ratio of boys to girls in school is always lowering, the boys are more in school than girls with the new priority of girls there is a minute difference between girls to boys now.
Tell me the girls can be in school but do they drop and if so what are some of the reason for that?
Primary Witness: One the negative scar the war left on the children is they expect too much too soon in terms of making money some are scatter into the bushes to look for money and those of them are not able the hard way finding the money engage into other things. And beside that prior to the war we never had many females in junior high and the war have come to add insult to injury we have very smaller number of girls in senior high classes like one two or three but in the elementary yes we have sizable numbers.
Chairman: do we have a standardize curriculum for the school system here? If so it is been followed?
Primary Witness: We have curriculum here even though it has been revised and even syllabuses from WAEC is also here and we are using them but the issues is the text books problems
Does the curriculum include civics educations as well?
Primary Witness: Yes partially though they have been sensitized and there are some human rights advocates and they are trying to concioustize children about their rights and we are there to re-echo to the students. But the people are misconstrue the explanation of human rights to the extend that even you want to send your own child he or she will tell you that papa you know human rights. So what we want ask those advocates is does these children have responsibility too to go along with their rights because if they have the rights to go to school to good health then they are obliged to take care of their parents and be servants to their parents. So if my son if I ask you sweep this place we slept then you say you have your human rights and in totality we all are humans so we all have rights and so where your rights stops there where my rights begins so the issues of responsibility the human rights advocates are answerable to us. And think that books should be available on civics too like what the Catholics do on the teaching of human rights.
Institutional/Thematic Hearings Barclayville, Grand kru County
The Governance and Reform
Presentation made by: Benedict S. Sayeh
The presenter of Forth Institution of the Thematic and Institutional Hearings was called to the stand and was sworn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth by the TRC Hearings Officer Pastor John Teayah.
Chairman: good afternoon and welcome. We want to thank you for coming to make this presentation on behalf of the Governance and Reform.
According to random house Webster's college dictionary, Governance is the exercise of authority of control. In order to conceptualize Governance, let us refer to it as the mechanisms, institution and process through which authority and control is exercised in the conduct o f public affairs. The concept of good governance emerged in the late 1980s as a result of failures in development policies due tot issues of governance concern including but not limited to the failure of the respect the universal principles of human right. These two concepts of good governance and human rights are mutually intertwined based on the core values of decentralization, participation, accountability, state and individual responsibilities. However political actors and researchers have come to the conclusion that there is no single model for the practice of governance. Institutions and process evolve our time.
Good governance frameworks requires: promoting checks and balances between formal and informal institutions of governance; effecting the necessary social changes. Particularly regarding gender equality and cultural diversity; generating political will and public and participation and awareness; and responding to the key challenges of corruption, mismanagement of national wealth, social and economic disparity, injustice and violent conflict.
In Grand Kru County, our conflicts have primary centered around land and boundary dispute, which in some cases have resulted to tribal conflict. As the TRC seeks to investigate the root cause of our national nightmare, it is but prudent to catalogue some of the various dispute of the past and present..
1.In the 1970s boundary disputes between Sasstown and Barclayville -resolved by the Tolbert Administration.
2.In1987, boundary dispute between Wedabo and Suehn resulted in the lost of lives.
3.In 2006, boundary dispute between Wedabo and Gblebo resulted into the burning of houses.
4.In 2007, the 1987 dispute resurrected between Wedabo and Suehn.
5.In 2008, boundary dispute between Wedabo and Gbalakpo clan.
Additionally, there are cross - county land dispute, such as.
1.In 2007, land dispute between Nemiah, Grand Kru and Nyanbo, Maryland.
2. In 2007 land dispute between Neroy in Grand Kru and king Williams Town in Sinoe
All of these disputes were investigated, finding and recommendation submitted to central government through the ministry of Internal Affairs for subsequent actions. Another grave governance concern in Grand Kru County us the proliferation of cities, districts, chiefdoms, clans and townships. Grand Kru County has
6 Statutory Districts
18 Administration District
26 Township and
Good governance as it relatives to decentralization requires an effective system of government. Under our current governance structure, there is confusion and conflict over who controls and exercises authority over a given sub national level of government. Inaccessibility confines to be our common enemy in Grand Kru County. This eventually hinders smooth functions of governance institution to most part of the county.. see expansion...women participation in local governance is encouraging. In the administration we have three (3) leaders 1 clan chief in Dorboh, two (2) female chiefs in Forpoh and Buah more women in the class room and the clinic.
The form of decentralization that underpins good governance includes Political Decentralization, fiscal Decentralization and Administration Decentralization. It discourages overlapping of functions, conflict of interest and duplication of functions. Decentralization enables local needs and priorities to be exacted and reflect in the planning implementations of local development programs. It underscores the best framework for sustainable peace and national healing.
We, the administration and people of Grand Kru County uphold the basic principles of decentralization as it relates to good governance and supports a leave and effective government system.
Consequently, the following recommendations are hereby advanced to the Government of Liberia through the TRC for consideration into our national agenda.
1.That the Central Government through the Ministries of Internal Affairs and land, Mines and Energy take prompt actions to quell current land dispute in Grand Kru as we all participate in the ongoing national boundary delimitation, demarcation and harmonization exercises.
2.That the Central Government empowers the Ministry of Land, Mines, and Energy at assign resident Land Surveyor(s) to Grand Kru county to legalize land ownership in the county.
3.That as an outcome of the ongoing boundary delimitation, demarcations, clans and townships in Grand Kru County be reduce to reflect modern realities as supported by legal requirements which in turn discourage political fragmentation and accelerates economics growth and development.
4.That appointment of superintendent by the President be upheld. That the City Mayors, Paramount, clan and General town chiefs be elected. And that District Commissioners and other county officials be appointed by the superintendent to ensure political decentralization.
5.That in order to promote Administration decentralization, administrative service such as the production of identification cards for civil servants be done on the county level, and that the disbursement of GOL salary checks be further centralize on the district level.
6.That about 40% of the revenue generated in the county be deposited in the county's development account in addition to its share of the national pie and othe investment initiative. This will enable the county authority to put in place some basic social services to attract private sector investment and ensure fiscal decentralization.
7. That the teaching of civics and the Constitution of Liberia be re-introduced and re-enforced in the Liberian school system. This will enable citizens know the responsibilities of the state and their (citizens) civic duties, which eventual prevents the reoccurrence of our ugly pass.
In conclusion of the this presentation, may I know the words of His Grace Archbishop Micheal Kpakal Francis as he pined in the proposition 12 for Decentralized Government in Liberia, I quote "good Governance has been historically one of Liberia's main problems. How can we build and sustain the practices of good governance, rule of Law, transparency, accountability, tolerance, merit, equity, and decentralization? We must address ourselves to the serious problems we have when if come to governance,. It is in a mess"
We must commend the TRC on behalf of the county Authority for this national endeavor and a heroic task. Your names, commissioners will be engraved on the stones of history, posterity shall praise you and providence your reward.
I thank you.
Questions and comments from the commissioners:
Chairman: we want to thank very much for your splendid presentation, your presentation was a generalized one good Governance. We take of boundary demarcation.
You also made mentioned about boundary harmonization which is cardinal to our national development
Commissioner Syllah: thank you very much for your brilliant presentation. We feel that your brilliant presentation will aid us in our work
Konneh: thank you for your presentation. We like to know about this ritualistic killing. Whether it is a mere rumor or actual?
Presenter: we don't have any ritualistic killing in our county
Commissioner Coleman: what'd you say is the most singular need you would like for the central government to do for you?
Presenter: road development. We have the problem of inaccessibility.
Commissioner Washington: what has been the general attitude of the people of Grand kru towards the GOL property like school, buildings, town halls, etc between there is general perception what is for government, is for nobody and so there can be no good can for it.
Presenter: the general attitude is that there is feet dragging when it comes to the implementation of government policies between the superintendent down to the last admin. Persons are all clustered together. We need a lot of facilities, like recreation for extra curricular activities, etc.
Washington; while is it true that it is good to have facilities like children play ground etc I hope you are not forgetting that we are Africans and that our people in typical African villages may see children's play ground to be different things that do not interfere with the culture, between most of some children may change the meaning of the play ground by doing things that interfere with African culture just because they have got a play ground.
Presenter: we are quite mindful about this because we still remember and encourage to continue the old village games we used to play.
Commissioner Coleman: what is the level of participation of communities in general work?
Presenter: There is a level of good participation, but you find out that certain communities have a particular community job to do in which everybody in the community interesting in doing.
Chairman: there is something I would like to know in this boundary harmonization thing you mentioned in your presentation. How is land acquired in this area? Is it by land deal or by were clan or choice that I went to own this area?
Presenter: This land distribution or boundary harmonization thing here is very difficult. People will plant monument at the point but will carry it on the other side so all these are factors to land distribution and boundary harmonization.
So land is not owned here by title? Suppose I can from Monrovia and desire a particular piece of land? Can I be allowed the land?
Presenter: Land is given here by total participation of the elders and chiefs especially the Superintendent. Once these people are happy with, especially the superintendent, you can get land in Grand Kru County.
So if you are friendly with the superintendent, you can't get land here, even though you said here traditionally land reserve here?
Presenter: it is very rare that someone will not friendly with the superintendent. Everybody is friendly with the superintendent.
Between the court and the traditional chief, which side adjudicates case better?
Presenter: It is relative, for quite result it is the chief. For long lasting solution the court is preferred.
Are people still administering Sassywood to extract confessions?
Presenter: No. it stopped ever since
Presenter: since the early 1980s
Commissioner Washington: Is the jurisdictional issue and the chain of command issue clear with the local authority where they here the boundary for you authority and here begin the other person' jurisdiction. And what is the different between sassy wood and justice by ordeal?
Presenter: yes there is a clear chain of command. A town chief controls the town only. The clan chief controls the clan and district commissioner controls the district, etc
Sassywood is to place hot iron against the foot of the accused, if he is guilty then the Iron will burn him, while justice by ordeal is to take name of the accused and place on a zoe rock or tree or give some medicine water to the accused, if he is guilty then he will die.
Commissioner Washington: there is no different between the two. Sassywood is just as justice by ordeal
Commissioner Konneh: Long before 1976, hut and house were distinguished. For the purpose of revenue taxes, a hut is a building with only one room and a house is a building with more than one room. The towns chiefs used to collect hut tax from the owner and 10% would return to them as their pay. President Tolbert abolished this in 1976.
Chairman: I want to thank you very much for your splendid presentation and the strength to listen to all of our answers.
Institutional/Thematic Hearings Barclayville City, Grand Kru County
Civil Society organizations
Presentation made by: Winston Flomo Project Coordinator FIND
The presenter of Fifth Institution of the Thematic and Institutional Hearings was called to the stand and was sworn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth by the TRC Hearings Officer Pastor John Teayah.
Chairman: good morning and welcome. We want to thank you for coming to make this presentation on behalf of the judiciary.
Observations and recommendations some of the root causes of the 14 years long civil war in Liberian are as follows:
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