LIBERIA: Supreme Court Reserves Ruling In 13 Convicted Mercenaries Case

Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor has reserved ruling in arguments regarding the 13 mercenaries convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment at the Monrovia Central Prison in 2014 for cross-border attacks into La Cote d’Ivoire.

The County Attorney of Montserrado County, Cllr. Daku Mulbah, said in his argument that prosecution produced 11 witnesses linking the convicted men to the murder of seven peacekeepers, the burning down of houses and the rape of women.

It can be recalled that government arrested 18 Liberians for cross-border attacks into neighboring La Cote d’Ivoire, leading to the deaths of seven peacekeepers.

Of the 18 arrested, five were acquitted prior to the final verdict due to lack of sufficient evidence to convict them.

Cllr. Mulbah said the defendants were indicted in 2011 and 2012 on multiple offenses, ranging from mercenarism to murder, rape, arson and theft of property, adding that if the defense wants their clients released from further detention they should establish that indeed they are not guilty of the crime.

Also presenting his argument for the prosecution, Cllr. Theophilus Gould  requested the Supreme Court  to affirm the judgment of  the lower court because the defendants were linked to the crime and therefore do not need any acquittal.

In his counter-argument, Cllr. Tiawon Gongole said the government did not prove its case, noting that there was no evidence linking the defendants to the crime.

He explained that all of the evidence produced in court was hearsay and therefore requested the Supreme Court to reverse the judgment and order the defendants released from further detention.

In the final verdict rendered against the 13 Liberians on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, following a period of trial at the Criminal Court “D” at the Temple of Justice, Judge Emery Paye found them guilty for their involvement in the Ivorian civil conflict in 2010.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice Korkpor has reserved ruling in the arguments of both prosecution and defense lawyers. He did not say for when.

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