Liberian Activist Wins International Award
The director of Liberia’s Global Justice and Research Project, Hassan Bility is the 2018 recipient of the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA)’s Judith Lee Stronach Human Rights Award in honor of his courage and his heroic pursuit of justice for Liberia.
Mr. Bility received the award at CJA’s 20th Anniversary Gala on March 8 at San Francisco’s Julia Morgan Ballroom in the US.
A leading Liberian human rights activist, Mr. Bility began his career as editor-in-chief of Liberia’s Analyst Newspaper during the presidency of Charles Taylor. As a result of his fearless reporting on the atrocities occurring at the time, Mr. Bility was arrested and held for six months in 2002, during which time he was savagely tortured on Taylor’s direct orders.
He founded the Global Justice and Research Project (GJRP) in 2012 to document war-related crimes committed during Liberia’s 14 year armed conflict.
Working in close collaboration with Geneva-based Civitas Maxima, GJRP assists Liberian victims in their pursuit of justice by documenting war-related atrocity crimes and connecting victims to accountability efforts against the perpetrators responsible for their harms.
GJRP’s work has led to the arrests of alleged Liberian war criminals throughout Europe and the U.S., including former Liberian rebel commanders Alieu Kosiah in Switzerland and Martina Johnson in Belgium; the arrest of Charles Taylor’s ex-wife Agnes Reeves Taylor in the UK; and of the arrest and eventual conviction of former ULIMO rebel commander Mohammed Jabbateh, and the recently filed case against Moses Thomas, the alleged commander of the Lutheran Church Massacre, in the U.S.
“Hassan is a key figure in the movement to obtain justice and accountability for war crimes in Liberia,” said Nushin Sarkarati, a Senior Attorney at CJA. “First as a journalist, and now as the director of GRJP, Hassan has dedicated his life to supporting survivors in their quest to hold perpetrators accountable for wartime violence in Liberia. Much of the work happening today on accountability for Liberian civil war violence is only possible because of GJRP and Hassan. He truly represents what this award stands for, and it is our honor to celebrate his passion and commitment to global justice during our 20th anniversary.”
“I am extremely honored to receive the Judith Lee Stronach Human Rights Award on behalf of those Liberians who lost their lives, or lost families and loved ones, during the armed conflict,” Mr. Bility said about receiving the award.
“The struggle to end impunity for war crimes in Liberia is gaining momentum. Liberians know that our country will only be able to thrive once there is an end to impunity, and a renewed trust in government. While nothing can make up for what we experienced in the past, obtaining justice can help brighten our future. I dedicate this award to the courage of the survivors, without whom none of this would be possible.”
About the Judith Lee Stronach Human Rights Award
The Judith Lee Stronach Human Rights Award was established in 2007 to honor an individual or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to the movement for global justice. It was established in honor of Judith Lee Stronach (1943 – 2002) a committed human rights activist who was instrumental in the founding of CJA. For a list of previous award winners visit our webpage.
About the Center for Justice and Accountability
The Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) is a San Francisco-based human rights organization dedicated to deterring torture and other severe human rights abuses around the world and advancing the rights of survivors to seek truth, justice and redress. CJA uses litigation to hold perpetrators individually accountable for human rights abuses, develop human rights law, and advance the rule of law in countries transitioning from periods of abuse.
About the Global Justice and Research Project
Established in 2012, the Global Justice and Research Project (GJRP) is a Liberia-based non-profit, non-governmental organization that documents war related crimes in Liberia and, where possible, seeks justice for victims of said crimes, with the full consent of the victims. The GJRP works in partnership with Civitas Maxima, a Geneva-based non-profit, non-governmental organization, which ensures the coordination of a network of international lawyers and investigators who work for the interests of those who have been victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity.