Hassan Bility founded the Global Justice and Research Project (GJRP) in 2012 after it became clear that the recommendations of the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) had been completely politicized and stood no chance of being implemented.
The TRC had recommended prosecution and political debarment of some individuals who were found to have been responsible, either in part or in whole, for war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Liberian Civil War. It so happened that several of the individuals singled out in the TRC’s report were holding high government offices, thus creating a dead end for the report and all those who had built faith in it.
Additionally, since no single individual Liberian citizen had ever been held accountable for war related crimes committed in Liberia by the time of the creation of the GJRP, Hassan Bility and his team were convinced that it was absolutely necessary to hold people accountable with the view to discouraging impunity. This is in support of the philosophy that in order to build a vibrant democratic society, justice must be considered one of its cardinal pillars.
As a victim of gang rape once said as she laid dying in a Monrovia hospital as a result of her wounds, “an unjust society in which nobody cares for justice, not even those who are not perpetrators, a society in which women are considered tools for the pleasure of powerful men with gun, a society in which children and the weak are tortured and murdered by selfish powerful elites, through their armed outlaws, such society is a consummate recipe for violence, no matter how long it may take”.
She uttered those words when being interviewed back in 2002 at the Redemption Hospital, on Bushrod Island, in Monrovia, Liberia. She wanted to pass this message to decision makers in Liberia. This statement, along with the aforementioned reasons, serves as an inspiration for the creation of the GJRP.
The Global Justice and Research Project (GJRP) documents war related crimes that occurred in Liberia during the Liberian Civil War between 1989 and 1997, and 1999 and 2003. The documentation serves two main purposes:
- In collaboration with Civitas Maxima the GJRP staff takes statements from victims of, and witnesses to, war related crimes that occurred in Liberia during the Liberian Civil War. The victims tell their stories willingly to the GJRP. These accounts or stories are developed into case files that will serve as a depository of crimes committed against civilians or non-combatants, as well as military or other armed personnel.
- Upon request by the victims, the GJRP, through its partner organization, Civitas Maxima, based in Geneva, Switzerland, identifies potential avenues for accountability.
The GJRP works with witnesses and victims of the Liberian civil war and other atrocities whenever appropriate. In Liberia, the GJRP’s work covers all 15 counties. The GJRP is unbiased without ethnic or partisan affiliation.
In addition, the GJRP aspires to monitor human rights abuses in other countries in West Africa.
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