Court to Decide Liberia’s Quest to Extradite Eight Ivoirians for War Crimes

74

Within seven days ending next week Wednesday, the Monrovia Magisterial Court will deliver judgment in a petition filed by the Liberian government to extradite eight Ivoirians to face trial in the Ivory Coast for alleged war crimes including the killing of seven UN peacekeepers during the West African nation’s civil war.

Judge Kennedy Peabody told New Democrat Wednesday that he had ordered the court’s sheriff to notify state prosecutors and Cllr. Amara Sheriff, legal counsel for the defendants to appear in court on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 for the ruling.

The eight Ivorians are opting not to be sent home but to face trial in Liberia.

In six years, Liberia has surrendered 41 wanted men into the custody of Ivorian authorities upon request to face multiple charges of war crimes for their alleged roles during their country’s 2012 post-election violence.

The eight are accused of being amongst several pro-Laurent Gbagbo fighters who are held accountable for series of attacks against civilian populations and UN peacekeepers.

They were charged in absentia by their government with the crime of murder, rape, arson, illegal possession of firearms, criminal conspiracy and theft of property.

Gbagbo is a former Ivory Coast president who lost the election to current President Allasane Ouattara.

The men were arrested by Liberian security forces in 2012 in Grand Gedeh County and since then they have been detained at the Monrovia Central Prison awaiting extradition to the Ivory Coast. During legal arguments back in 2016, now Solicitor General Cllr. Daku Mulbah said the Liberian government filed the petition based on an extradition treaty entered into with Ivory Coast on August 24, 1972, and later ratified on August 18, 1973, by the legislature.

But in counter arguments, Cllr. Amara Sheriff said although there was an extradition treaty between Liberia and Ivory Coast, there was no instrument to show that the Liberian Legislature ratified it.

“Dismiss the entire proceedings on grounds that the sole basis of the extradition was on the strength of the treaty that was never approved or ratified by the Legislature,” Cllr. Sheriff argued.

– Writes P. Nas Mulbah