Liberian Gets Top Human Rights Award
A Liberian journalist, Hassan Bility, is the 2018 recipient of the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA)’s Judith Lee Stronach Human Rights Award.
The Award is in honor of his courage and his heroic pursuit of justice for Liberia.
Mr. Bility, who is Director of Liberia’s Global Justice and Research Project, received the award at CJA’s 20th Anniversary Gala on March 8, at San Francisco’s Julia Morgan Ballroom in California, USA.A leading Liberian human rights activist, Mr. Bility began his career as editor-in-chief of Liberia’s Analyst Newspaper during the Charles Taylor regime.
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.
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.
He is also crediting with aiding 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,” he said.
In remarks, Bility said: “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,” he added.