Clarkson resident George Boley, linked to war crimes by an immigration judge, is not appealing his deportation to his home country of Liberia.
“Please expedite my removal to Liberia,” Boley wrote in a letter to immigration officials on Feb. 17, more than a week after an immigration judge ruled he should be deported. On March 7 immigration officials contacted Liberia to initiate the process for Boley’s deportation, records show.
The immigration correspondence, typically not public, was included in a recent government response to a civil suit Boley once filed claiming he was being illegally jailed as he awaited a decision on his immigration case.
Those documents also include the government’s specific allegations of war crimes against Boley, many that were not aired at his immigration trial.
As leader of the so-called Liberia Peace Council, or LPC, during the African country’s bloody civil war, Boley was responsible for hundreds of killings, immigration officials declared in a January 2010 document. Boley himself “shot two women with infants” in 1995, the allegations claim.
However, the allegations against Boley were clearly culled from interviews with Liberians. Experts in the civil war maintain that the country was so chaotic that many claims of wrongdoing cannot be solidly substantiated.
Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, formed to determine who did commit crimes during the civil war, decided that the LPC committed human rights violations, including massacres and sexual crimes. The commission, which is only advisory, recommended that Boley be prosecuted, though no official action has been taken in Liberia to charge him with crimes.
In a 2010 interview with the Democrat and Chronicle, Boley denied committing war crimes. He said then that another group also used the LPC name and was likely guilty of atrocities.
Boley also testified before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission — lengthy testimony in which he adamantly denied responsibility for violence.
Jerome Verdier, who chaired the TRC, said he has no doubt Boley committed human rights violations. Boley could not name members of the other supposed LPC, and there was no evidence the group existed, Verdier said in a telephone interview.
The TRC interviewed 20,000 people and visited the areas subjected to violent LPC rampages, Verdier said. Among those interviewed were men who’d been soldiers under Boley’s leadership.
Still, Verdier said, he cannot imagine Boley being prosecuted in Liberia.
“There’s not a political will or moral authoritiy in government to make progress in accountability and justice issues,” said Verdier, who now lives in New York. “Mr. Boley goes home and he will join his colleagues and peers. … He will enjoy his freedom in Liberia, regrettably.”
In February U.S. Immigration Judge John Reid ruled there was enough evidence of Boley’s responsibility for killings — as well as the recruitment of child soldiers — that he should be deported.
Boley came to the United States almost four decades ago to attend The College at Brockport.
After earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees there, he received his doctorate at the University of Akron.
In the years since, Boley traveled to and from Liberia and even once ran for president of Liberia, an election in which he was handily beaten. Through the years, he spent more time with his family here, holding down various jobs, including a stint as a Rochester City School District administrator