Liberia: Lesson for Warlords – U.S. Finally Dumps Boley


Monday, 02 April 2012 01:00 E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor
Source: The New Dawn Liberia

Fate and time have a way of dealing with every man no matter his past or current roles so it has been with former Liberian rebel leader Dr. George Boley, who has been held at a federal detention facility outside Buffalo since 2010, under a U.S. ‘Child Soldiers Accountability Act’. Boley has been finally deported to Liberia after spending two years in federal custody.
He arrived at the Roberts International Airport on Friday onboard a Delta Airlines flight and was immediately handed over to officers of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN).
Boley had been living in upstate New York near Rochester until his arrest two years ago and subsequent deportation. He was brought to Monrovia for a brief appearance at the BIN Headquarters on Broad Street, Monrovia and subsequently handed over to family members.


The 62-year-old leader of the defunct Liberia Peace Council is reported to have presided over authorizing executions, massacres and rapes during counterattacks against Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia rebels between 1993 and 96.


But appearing before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia in 2009 Boley, like all other Liberian ex-rebel leaders, denied any wrongdoing. Many ordinary Liberians say the Bolry’s fate should sound a warning bell to other former warlords still evading justice that one day; they meet their end in whatever form or shape.


“George Boley’s [deportation] is a major step in addressing the serious human rights abuses he perpetrated in Liberia in the 1990s,” said one of the bystanders, who attended the arrival of Dr. Boley at the headquarters of Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization on Broad Street.


Boley, who has been in U.S. federal custody since 2010, is the first former Liberian warlord to be deported under the Child Soldiers Accountability Act, a four-year-old law that allows for the deportation of people linked to the recruitment and use of child soldiers.


“The United States has always welcomed refugees and those fleeing oppression, and at the same time accept human rights violators and war criminals in their country; but with the deportation of Mr. Boley today for his role in our civil conflict is a warning shout for those who may want to create problems for us here and think that they will run to America for protection,” said, Wendell Miller, a student of the University of Liberia.


A State Department report on Human Rights Practices in Liberia documented reports that Boley, as former leader of the Liberian Peace Council, authorized the executions of seven of his soldiers in 1995, according to ICE. The agency said witnesses also testified before the Liberian Truth Commission investigating war crimes that the LPC burned alive dozens of captives in 1994.


Boley first served as Education Minister in the military regime of the late Samuel Doe in the 1980s. Later, as leader of the anti-Charles Taylor rebel group, Liberian Peace Council (LPC), he served as member of the defunct transitional collective presidency, Council of State in 1996. U.S. Immigration and Customs officials accused Boley of leading a rebel faction responsible for human rights abuses, during the Liberian civil war, which ended in 2003.


An immigration judge last month ordered Boley removed under the Child Soldiers Accountability Act of 2008, which added the recruitment and use of child soldiers as grounds for deportation.


Boley’s wife and children, who still reside in the United States, have reportedly denied the allegations, arguing that none of the charges against their husband and father were corroborated by credible evidence.


George Boley Jr, claims the government’s effort of deporting his father is rooted in his lawsuit against federal agents. The lawsuit charges those agents with “reckless” and “malicious” violations of his civil rights.


In an interview with The News, he said his father came to America to attend college and, while there raised seven children with his wife, Kathryn. He also said his father was a former administrator with the Rochester public school system.


At the time of his arrest in 2010, federal authorities compared his case to the high-profile investigation of Chuckie Taylor, who is currently serving a 97-year imprisonment after he was convicted in connection with beatings, torture and executions in Liberia during his father’s rule.


Chuckie’s case is believed to be the first prosecution under a federal law that allows U.S. courts to hear cases involving torture in other nations, if the accused is living in the U.S. or is a U.S. citizen
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The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia, West Africa. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. Bernard Gbayee Goah 
 Also see: “Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah” at: http://bernardgoah.blogspot.com/
Copyright © 2011
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