Life Imprisonment For Mercenaries
By Edwin G. Wandah
Criminal Court D at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia yesterday sentenced 13 Liberians who were arrested and charged with the crime of Mercenarism in neighboring Ivory Coast around 2011. The 13 Liberians, who are now guilty according to Criminal Court D, hail from Grand Gedeh County, where they were also arrested and brought to Monrovia for the adjudication of the case after being charged with the crime pro rata.
Recently, a six-man Jury rendered the 13 men guilty of the crime of Mercenarism after more than four hours of arguments between the Prosecution and the Defense Counsels, until six of the nine- member Jury, overwhelmingly came down with a heartbreaking verdict that the 13 men were guilty of the crime of Mercenarism.
The jurors who took nearly three hours to give their verdict, presented their findings to the Clerk of Criminal Court D, who then gave it to Judge Emery S. Paye for his viewing, but in a jiffy, Judge Paye returned the written verdict to the Clerk of Court who read all counts, considering the 13 men guilty of the act of Mercenarism in neighboring Ivory Coast.
However, the Defense took an exception and later filed a motion for re-trial, but that motion was denied by Judge Emery S. Paye on Tuesday, June 17, 2014 on grounds that the defense counsel blundered from the beginning.
Judge Paye amongst several reasons said that the defense counsel did not produce tangible evidence and logical reason to defeat witnesses’ testimonies provided by the Prosecution, but Defense, yesterday raised a serious issue which they argued that the jurors were tampered with.
According to Counselor Dempster Brown, credible sources to the jurors revealed to him that each of the jurors received an amount of USD500, 00 to set the ruling against the defendants. But Counselor Brown who failed to give the name of his source who confided in him said he decided not to mention the names of his source due to security reasons.
But the Prosecution seriously took exception and frowned on Counselor Dempster Brown for what they called his failure to call the name of his source noting that it warrants his arrest and incarceration for misleading the court.
According to Cllr. Theophilus Gould, mere denial can equate people who carry out atrocities on another nation, killing innocent people and even destroying thousands of Dollars-worth of properties including the killing of seven United Nations Peace Keepers in Ivory Coast.
Meanwhile, the Defense Counsel has taken exception to the Judge’s ruling and will take an appeal to the Supreme Court of Liberia which they believe will give them justice.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the Judge’s ruling, Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe said although their motion for retrial was denied, they are not deterred.
According to Cllr. Gongloe, they will do everything in their reach to find justice for their clients who have been behind bars at Monrovia Central Prison for a length of time.