Liberia rejects HRW claims regarding Ivorian dissidents
The Liberian government has denied Human Rights Watch (HRW) claims that it has failed to investigate and prosecuted dozens of Liberian mercenaries and Ivorian militants who crossed into Liberia, after allegedly committing war crimes during Ivory Coast post-election crisis.
“We regret that categorization that we have done very little,” said Lewis Brown, Liberia’s Information Minister in an interview with West Africa Democracy Radio (WADR).
In a report released on Wednesday, the New York based rights said armed militants hostile to the Ivorian government have been recruiting Liberian children and had carried out raids in Ivorian villages, killing up to 40 civilians.
“For well over a year, the Liberian government has had its head in the sand in responding to the flood of war criminals who crossed into the country at the end of the Ivorian crisis,” said Matt Wells, West Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.
But the Liberian government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has taken serious exception to the rights group’s report, saying never will it allow any inch of the country’s territory to be used to destabilize any of its neighbours.
Brown told WADR’s Monrovia Correspondent that HRW did not contact the government to get Liberia’s side of the issue before releasing its latest report, when in fact legal and other measures have been in place.
“The extradition proceeding is a court proceeding that is well advanced. We hope that in a matter of days that will be resolved.”
Both Liberia and the Ivory Coast have a long history of cross border dissidents' activities dating back to December 1989, when the late Ivorian President Felix Houphouet Boginy allowed Ivorian territory to be used by Charles Taylor's former NPFL rebels to launch its insurgency against the late President Samuel Doe. Later in the Liberian civil war the former MODEL anti Taylor rebel groups sprung out of neighbouring Ivory Coast to attack and capture towns in southeastern Liberia.
WADR’s Correspondent William Selmah interviews the Liberian Information Minister Brown on HRW's claims that his government was failing to act against Ivorian dissidents on its territory.
Click audio below to listen