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Liberia Is A Caricature Of A State And Not A Real State...Kofi Woods At TRC...Wants Dismantling Of The Liberian States

Montserrado County, Liberia
17 November, 2008
Categorized as pertaining to: Hearings

Labor Minister Samuel Kofi Woods has called for the dismantling of the Liberian state.

Attorney Woods, a human rights lawyer and former student activist told commissioners of Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that what was now in place is a "caricature of a state and not a real state."

Mr. Woods demanded that the Liberian state must be dismantled and re-conceptualized, saying that the real Liberian state must emerged out of the proceedings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia.

"We can do this by reverting to those values which dominate. This state has failed to offer something of value to its subjects in return for their loyalty," Mr. Woods said when he testified Tuesday at the ongoing public hearings of the TRC at Monrovia's historic Centennial Memorial Pavilion.

He said Liberia will fail no matter who becomes leader if the fundamental of collective ownership is not put in place. All reforms, he said, will be window dressing, because according to him the country already has a faulty foundation that is cracking that cannot erect a serious state.

"We have a state characterized by discrimination, subjugation and coercion. Distributive justice became a prevalent issue with the introduction of a so-called modern system of governance, history of injustice which includes resource distribution, land, lack of access and mechanisms of redress of grievances and justice for the rich and elites."

Mr. Woods said that Liberia has a background like many other developing nations of a false start as a nation, a weak and in cohesive state, lack of legal certainty, lack of respect for the rule of law, the crisis of legitimacy, the crisis of identity, participation, authority and penetration.

He said the country has always been a two tier state which is characteristics of colonialism.

Woods said that the country's internal conflict was only characterized by loot, plunder, brute force and naked power and did not border on ideological descent or religious tolerance but was about innate greed and criminal gangs who have discovered the weakness and fragility of the nation state.

"They have determined that it was possible with the acquiescence of a gullible international community it was possible to legitimize crime and to use the system of governance to legitimize crimes."

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.

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This had been the official website of the Liberian TRC. The Commission ended operation
in 2010. This website is maintained by the Georgia Institute of Technology.