Liberia: ‘Violence a Human Rights Violation’: NPP Faction of Ruling Coalition Cautions After Attack

0
SCARY ENVIRONMENT FOR INVESTORS: The National Patriotic Party, a constituent party of the current ruling Coalition for Democratic Change, has denounced in the strongest terms, all forms of violence increasing across the country, the most recent being perpetrated in the electoral District 15 and is appealing to all Liberians to stop the violence, as it has the potential to reverse the country’s hard-earned democracy and scare those investors in and out of Liberia.

Monrovia – The National Patriotic Party of former Liberian President Charles Ghankay Taylor says Liberians should be mindful that electoral violence is now a serious Human Rights violation, punishable by the International Criminal Court.

The NPP appealed to all Liberians to stop the violence, as it has the potential to reverse the country’s hard-earned democracy and scare those investors in and out of Liberia.

In its first response to Saturday’s violent incident in District No. 15 Montserrado County, the officials and members of the Executive Committee of the party which is a constituent party of the current ruling Coalition for Democratic Change, denounced in the strongest terms, all forms of violence increasing across the country, the most recent being perpetrated in the electoral District 15.

The party, in a statement Sunday urged Liberians to take steps to prevent the current wave of violence and restore sanity to our nation.

The NPP appealed to all Liberians to stop the violence, as it has the potential to reverse the country’s hard-earned democracy and scare those investors in and out of Liberia.

The NPP also calls on the government functionaries, to secure the peace and to launch an immediate investigation into this current wave of electoral violence and bring those perpetrators to justice so as to set the example that violence has no place in our nation.

The ICC is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal that sits in The Hague, Netherlands. It has jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression.

The Office of the Prosecutor has to date conducted eleven preliminary examinations and 44 individuals have been indicted in the ICC.

Saturday’s violent turn is already resurrecting debate over Liberia’s snail pace in pressing for the establishment of a war crimes court in Liberia.

In 2012, former President Taylor became the first African president to be prosecuted at an international court after he was found guilty of aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity for supporting rebels who carried out atrocities in Sierra Leone in return for “blood diamonds”.

He is currently serving a lengthy term in a British prison in a case that has set a precedent that heads of state can no longer consider themselves immune to international justice. After four years of hearings at the UN-backed special court for Sierra Leone in the Hague, the former warlord was convicted on 11 charges including murder, rape, sexual slavery and enforced amputations.

To date, arrests for crimes committed during the civil war have been made outside Liberia, through the instrumentality of Civitas Maxima and the Global Justice and Research Project (GJRP) which have been documenting crimes allegedly committed during that period.

Those arrested so far are:

Saturday’s violent turn is already resurrecting debate over Liberia’s snail pace in pressing for the establishment of a war crimes court in Liberia. To date, arrests for crimes committed during the civil war have been made outside Liberia, through the instrumentality of Civitas Maxima and the Global Justice and Research Project (GJRP) which have been documenting crimes allegedly committed during that period.

Martina Johnson, Liberian citizen and former artillery commander of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) of Charles Taylor, was arrested in September 2014 in Gent, Belgium, and charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity. She was later released while she is awaiting trial. That arrest was the first time ever a Liberian was criminally charged for international crimes allegedly committed during the 1st civil war in Liberia (1989-1996).

The criminal investigation continues and a decision is likely to be made in the course of 2019 by Belgian judges on whether or not to send Martina Johnson to trial.

Alieu Kosiah, Liberian citizen and former commander of the United Liberation Movement for Democracy in Liberia (ULIMO) was arrested and charged for war crimes in Switzerland in November 2014 and his arrest was made public in January 2015. This was the first time ever a member of the armed group ULIMO which was fighting against Charles Taylor and the NPFL during the Liberian civil war was arrested and charged.

Michel Desaedeleer, a US and Belgian citizen, was arrested in 2011 in Belgium on behalf of several Sierra Leonean plaintiffs. This complaint prompted an official and non-public federal investigation by Belgian authorities against M. Desaedeleer. This is the very first time that someone was arrested and indicted for participation in the trade of blood diamonds, qualified as a war crime – pillage – and crime against humanity – forced labor. In September 2015, after several years of investigation, M. Desaedeleer was arrested in Malaga, Spain, following the issuance of a European arrest warrant against him. He was then transferred to Belgium where he was charged for war crimes and crimes against humanity, being accused of having participated with Charles Taylor and the rebels of the RUF in Sierra Leone in the trade of so-called «blood diamonds. Desaedeleer passed away in Belgian custody on 28 September 2016, a few months before his trial was scheduled to commence.

Agnes Taylor: In June 2017, the Metropolitan Police Service arrested Agnes Taylor, Charles Taylor’s ex-wife, charged with torture for her alleged involvement with atrocities committed by Charles Taylor’s rebel group, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), during the first Liberian Civil War. The landmark case marks the second time someone formerly associated with the NPFL has been charged with crimes committed during Liberia’s civil wars. A trial is on the cards for this year.

Mohammed Jabbateh, aka Jungle Jabbah, was arrested in Pennsylvania, U.S.A in April 2016. On 2 October 2017, the U.S. Government’s immigration fraud case against the Liberian citizen, Pennsylvania resident, and alleged war criminal began in Philadelphia. Jabbateh was charged with two counts of fraud in immigration documents and two counts of perjury for having lied to authorities about his war time activities. He was a ULIMO commander, then later ULIMO-K post-faction split, during the First Liberian Civil War and responsible for commanding atrocious wartime crimes including murder, conscription of child soldiers, and cannibalism. A jury convicted Jabbateh on 18 October 2017. On 19 April 2018, Jabbateh was sentenced to 30 years in prison, the maximum possible sentence for his charges. This sentence is also one of the longest sentences for immigration fraud in U.S. history. The trial was the first ever trial against a ULIMO commander and the first time that victims testified in a criminal trial about crimes committed during the First Liberian Civil War.

Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu founded the NPFL with Charles Taylor and served as Spokesman and Defence Minister until political dissonance led him to create and lead the NPFL-CRC during Liberia’s First Civil War (1989-1996). In May 2014, Thomas Woewiyu was arrested at the Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, U.S.A, upon his return from a trip to Liberia.

Woewiyu was charged with 2 counts of fraudulently attempting to obtain citizenship, 4 counts of fraud in immigration documents, 3 counts of false statements in relation to naturalization, and 7 counts of perjury. June 11, 2018 marked the start of Woewiyu’s immigration fraud trial. Over 35 witnesses testified to his direct and indirect involvement with war crimes during the civil war. After 13 days in court, the jury found Woewiyu guilty on 11 of 16 counts on 3 July 2018; his maximum possible sentence is 75 years in prison. His sentencing has been postponed and is expected in 2019.

Chuckie Taylor, son of former President Taylor was taken into US custody on 30 March 2006 after attempting to enter the United States from Trinidad at Miami International Airport, a day after his father was surrendered to the Special Court for Sierra Leone. He was initially charged with using a United States passport obtained through lying about his father’s identity. In September 2006, he pleaded guilty to the violation and was scheduled to be sentenced on 7 December 2006. However, one day prior to the sentencing, he was indicted on torture charges (8 counts). He pleaded not guilty to the allegations.

On 30 October 2008, a jury convicted Chuckie Taylor on six counts of committing acts of torture and conspiracy to commit torture in Liberia and one of possession of a firearm while committing a violent crime. On 9 January 2009, U.S. District Judge, Cecilia Altonaga sentenced Taylor to 97 years in prison.
In recent years advocates both at home and abroad have been pushing for the establishment of a war crimes court so as to curb current wave of violence showing its face in Liberia which endured more than a decade of civil war.

One of those advocates, Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe told a conference addressing the issue in Monrovia recently that those who commit war crimes are cowards. He said they cannot follow normal rules, and they act when laws are weak, and in time of peace, laws are strong. “The only way we can live peacefully, is to exclude war criminals from among us so that this place can be peaceful. There is no way this place can be peaceful when they are among us,” Gongloe said.

He protested that those responsible for some of the worst crimes against humanity should not live among us and hold top positions.

Earlier this year, Mr. Yacoub El Hillo, the United Nations Resident Coordinator made a poignant point of stating at a national colloquium on the Implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Recommendations report held in Gbarnga, Bong County, that the implementation of the TRC’s findings is one of the essential channels of achieving long lasting peace and fostering full reconciliation.

Mr. Yacoub averred that for the gains that have been realized to be sustainable, grievances from the past must be addressed. “The series of conversations that will take place in the colloquium from today will hopefully contribute to this. I therefore urge all participants to be frank, constructive and solution oriented, bearing in mind that the overarching need for peace, stability, progress and economic development of Liberia can only be sustained if Liberians speak out and dialogue on how to heal the wounds of the past.”

Comments
Loading...