Rep. Dixon Sebo’s Confronts Fellow Lawmaker in Chamber for Allegedly Murdering Family Members during Brutal Civil War
Capitol Hill, Monrovia – It was a day full of drama on Thursday during a heated debate on the floor when Rep. Dixon Wlawlee Sebo (District #16, Montserrado County) brazenly confronted his colleague, Rep. George E. S. Boley of Grand Gedeh County for allegedly killing members of his family during Liberia’s bloody civil war.
Rep. Boley who currently represents the people of Grand Gedeh County District #2 was the founder and commander of the Liberia Peace Council (LPC), one of the fiercest rebel factions during the first Liberian civil war from 1989 to 1997.
The LPC committed 10 percent of the total violations carried out by warring factions during the 14-year long civil conflict, according to Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
The TRC documented in its final report that the LPC, which was situated in South-eastern Liberia, committed 16,708 violations including forced displacement, killing, forced labor, abduction, gang rape and looting, among others.
Making his argument during a heated debate before the vote to suspend Rep. Yekeh Kolubah was taken, Rep. Boley was constantly interrupted by Rep. Sebo with a war crimes court scare, saying “The War crimes Court is coming.”
In response, Boley said “Mr. Speaker, nobody can scare anybody in this country. If there is anybody who thinks that they can frighten us in this country, we have news for them Mr. Speaker, and that’s not a threat.”
Rep. Sebo then became emotional and repeatedly said, “This man killed my family members. He needs to face the war crimes Court.” As tension grew, Rep. Acarous Moses Gray of Montserrado District #8 intervened and calmed his colleague down.
Calls for War Crimes Court Reawaken
Meanwhile, Rep. Sebo’s confrontation with the former warlord-cum-politician for allegedly murdering his relatives during Liberia’s brutal civil conflict has renewed calls for the establishment of a war crimes court in Liberia.
While some sympathized with Rep. Sebo, others blamed him and his ruling Coalition for Democratic Change-dominated Legislature for not mustering the courage to legislate a bill authorizing the establishment of the court.
Writing on his Facebook page after he reposted a caption of the confrontation between the two lawmakers that had already been shared on social media, Joe T. Kennedy said: “I attempted to share the post because of the empathy I have for Representative Seboe, who, like many of us, have to interact with people who wounded or killed our relatives during the senseless civil war. I can only imagine how it feels working with an individual who killed your relatives during Liberia’s civil war. The need for a war crimes court in Liberia can never be over-emphasized. So sad.”
But in response, another writer, identified as Tomreeen Kennedy, who appears to be a relative of Kennedy wrote: “I don’t think he needs empathy dad. He has the power to call for the establishment of the war crimes court but following party mandate is their quest. I had an interview with him before but doesn’t seem to have petty on those who lost their lives or their family.”
Wolo Dee added: “Seeboe and others in the CDC regime advocated for the establishment of war crimes court yesterday. What is stopping this advocacy? He thinks by attacking his colleague is going to solve the problem?”
Gweh G. Nekerwon also said: “Justice for war victims in Liberia is long overdue… I can’t imagine that #GeorgeWeah and his party would be sugar coating this issue of #war and #economic crimes court, considering their actions back then as opposition.”
Nekerwon was backed by Kaydor Saidy-Bar who said “I agree with you. However, let them pass a law to prosecute warlords and war criminals. [Rep.] Sebo shouldn’t fight physically. His party is in charge of governance in Liberia. They can pass on a war crimes court.”
Still Held Hostage
It is more than ten years since the TRC recommendations, which among other things, called for the establishment of war crimes court- the Extraordinary Criminal Court for Liberia (ECCL) to try people for atrocities, including summary executions, rape and massacres.
However, Liberia has not prosecuted a single person for the heinous crimes committed during its two armed conflicts. It is yet to set up the court despite calls from the international community and other rights groups to do so.
The closest the Government of Liberia ever came to threading such path was in 2019, when a resolution backing the establishment of a war and economic crimes court reached the required two-third signatures of members of the House of Representatives but House Speaker Bhofal Chambers refused to place the resolution on the agenda for passage.
Speaker Chambers, defending his action said, the establishment of the court is a contentious issue that requires more consultations with members of their constituencies.
More than one and a half years has passed since he announced the proposed consultations, but the resolution has not resurfaced and a decision is yet to be reached. His decision to replace Rep. Rustonlyn Suacoco Dennis (Montserrado County District #4), an ardent supporter of a war crimes court and one of the champions of the resolution as Chairperson of the House Committee on Claims and Petition has been viewed by some as a blow to the campaign for the court.