The Real African|| By I.K Cush, New York
Unlike the victorious allied nations at the end of World War 2, who cooperated with the United Nations War Crimes Commission [UNWCC] to prosecute Nazi war criminals responsible for the murder of millions of innocents, including six million Jews, the Guyana government refuses to recognize the competence of, and cooperate with, the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances to prosecute Bharrat Jagdeo and his roster of reprobates responsible for the extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearance of hundreds of Guyanese citizens, including over 400 Africans.
In terms of scale, there is no equivalence between the crimes of Adolf Hitler, Germany’s World War 2 Nazi leader and Bharrat Jagdeo, Guyana’s president from 1999 to 2011 as leader of the People’s Progressive Party [PPP]. However, in terms of murderous depravity, there is! Both Hitler and Jagdeo displayed a depraved indifference to human life; in Hitler’s case, he killed much more.
Starting in 1999, and, continuing until 2008, Guyanese citizens experienced an unprecedented reign of terror under the Jagdeo regime. During that period, hundreds of African Guyanese were murdered, many under the color of law, by members of the Guyana Police Force who were used by the PPP government to enforce its criminal edacity.
Victims and the survivors of the PPP’s murderous criminality were offered no recourse from any of Guyana’s state agencies, including the courts which failed to provide effective redress of the Jagdeo regime’s crimes against humanity.
The UN War Crimes Commission was, according to Benjamin B. Ferencz, the former American chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, ‘an illustration of human determination to seek justice under the law in order to deter enormous crimes against humanity.’ He wrote that in the foreword of the recently-published Human Rights After Hitler, written by Dr. Dan Plesch, director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at the University of London.
The UNWCC comprised seventeen nations that assembled evidence of German atrocities. The evidence ‘substantiated prima facie cases for the accused to answer,’ according to Ferencz. The evidence gathered laid the foundation for thousands of trials which resulted in the prosecution and conviction of thousands of Nazi criminals.
Prosecuting Nazi war criminals after World War 2 required tremendous courage and strength of character given the exigencies of the Cold War – the battle for ideological supremacy between the United States and the Soviet Union, now Russia.
One such profile in courage was Herbert Pell. Pell was an American congressman appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to be his ambassador on the UNWCC. When he proposed, in 1944, that Nazi crimes against German Jews be prosecuted as crimes against humanity, the British and American foreign ministries resorted to legal and political legerdemain to frustrate his prosecutorial efforts. He was fired.
Dr. Dan Plesch explained what happened next: ‘Pell took his case to the American press, forcing the U.S. State Department to support the idea of prosecutions for crimes against humanity. The publicity given to the scale of the horrors in Germany in the summer of 1945 forced the U.S. government into action – and resulted in the charter establishing the Nuremberg tribunal and later the Tokyo tribunal, both of which encompassed crimes against humanity.’
Congressman Pell’s determination – and resultant success – to obtain justice for the victims of Nazi crimes against humanity established the legal precedent and laid a solid foundation for the prosecution of Bharrat Jagdeo and his criminal cohorts as Dr. Plesch explained here:
Crimes Against Humanity In Guyana
The Bharrat Jagdeo regime committed the most “egregious” of crimes against the citizens of Guyana – enforced disappearance, as explained here by Emma Daly of Human Rights Watch.
Under international law, enforced disappearance means “the arrest, detention or abduction of persons by, or with the authorization, support or acquiescence of, a State or a political organization, followed by a refusal to acknowledge that deprivation of freedom or to give information on the fate or whereabouts of those persons, with the intention of removing them from the protection of the law for a prolonged period of time.”
Hundreds of Guyanese citizens were killed and/or disappeared during the regime of Bharratt Jagdeo, an “egregious violation of human rights and international law,” declared secretary-general of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, in his message to the High-Level Meeting to Commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Adoption of the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
At that same High-Level Meeting, Mr. Peter Thomson, president of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly called on all member states to “redress past wrongs, by strengthening accountability [and] investigate and prosecute enforced disappearances, including providing mechanisms for redress and reparations.”
On March 8, 2016, chairman of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, Mr. Houria Es-Slami, sent a letter to the government of Guyana requesting that it investigate the disappearance of Frantz Britton, aka, Collie Wills. Mr. Wills disappeared in 1999 after being arrested by members of the Black Clothes Death Squad, an enforcement arm of the Guyana Police Force.
Guyana’s president, David Granger, vowed shortly after his election in 2015, at the 3rd annual Cuffy 250 State of the African Guyanese Forum, to “ensure that all of those mothers’ children who were killed have their deaths investigated,” and those found culpable brought to justice. It’s been over two years since Mr. Granger made that solemn vow. To date, no mechanisms have been put in place to hold Bharrat Jagdeo and his cohorts accountable for their crimes against humanity. Indeed, President Granger interacts with Mr. Jagdeo as if he is an elder statesman. And, Mr. Jagdeo struts around Guyana as if he is a president-in-waiting.
David Granger and his coalition partners were swept into office in 2015 on a wave of popular revulsion of Bharrat Jagdeo’s terrorist regime. If President Granger’s government fails to prosecute Jagdeo for his crimes, many fear that come 2020, Mr. Jagdeo will be re-elected president and unleash even greater horrors on Africans in Guyana. History recorded such a precedent!.
On October 2, 1904, Lt. General Lothar von Trotha, issued an extermination order of the Herero people in Namibia on behalf of the German government. Over 100,000 Namibians were murdered. The international community said and did nothing. No German government or military official was brought to justice as explained here by Robert Murtfeld.
Within 30 years after that genocide, Adolf Hitler was elected chancellor of Germany and unleashed greater horrors on the people of Europe, killing millions.
In the pursuit of justice, courageous leadership is imperative; the type of courage demonstrated by congressman Herbert Pell in 1945. The election of David Granger in 2015, presumably, pulled Guyana back from the abyss. Now is the time for leadership that is bold and courageous, not craven and vapid!
If the Granger administration continues its refusal to cooperate with the UN Working Group and allows Mr. Jagdeo and his cabal of miscreants to escape justice for their crimes against humanity, the judgment of history will be cold, harsh and accurate.