Liberia: US$15M Lawsuit Against Human Rights Activist Hassan Bility

Bility, the founder of the Global Justice and Research Project (GJRP), is being sued for ‘criminally and maliciously aiding the prosecution team of the London Metropolitan Police.

Amos Borhn, one of the Liberians who Hassan Bility claimed Agnes Revees Taylor murdered during the 1990 civil war, is said to be alive and would testify in the US$15 million defamation suit against him.

The claim of Borhn being alive was made known to the  Civil Law Court ‘A’ by Ms. Taylor’s lawyer, who added that the man in question resides in the UK, contrary to Bility's accusation that he was murdered during the civil war. 

“We are in contact with Borhn and he is willing and waiting to come to Liberia to meet Bility face to face. He wants to see Bility,” Cllr. Jonathan Massaquoi claimed. “All Borhn is waiting for is a Court summon and he will be available for the case. Borhn is one of several witnesses that we have contacted and are willing to testify, only if they were to be summoned for their testimonies.” 

Borhn’s expected testimony is a result of a letter from Bility, a human rights activist, to the UK’s Metropolitan Police War Crimes Unit, on January 8, 2015, alleging that he was murdered, execution-style, by Ms. Reeves.

In his letter, Bility also attached what he considered sworn statements, saying, “this statement (consisting of 17pages each, signed by me) is true to me best of my knowledge and belief and I made it, knowing that if it is tended in evidence, I shall be liable to prosecution if I have willfully stated anything in it, which I know to be false or do not believe to be true.”

Bility, the founder of the Global Justice and Research Project (GJRP), is being sued for ‘criminally and maliciously aiding the prosecution team of the London Metropolitan Police to file alleged war crime charges against Ms. Taylor, an ex-wife of former Liberian President, Charles Taylor.

Her prosecution in the UK stemmed from claims by Civitas Maxima and GJRP that she committed alleged war crimes while a member of the rebel group, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NFPL) — a claim that prompted the prosecution by the Metropolitan Police.

Ms. Taylor was arrested on June 2, 2017, in London by the Metropolitan Police and charged with torture on the grounds of her suspected involvement with the NFPL rebel group, which was led by her ex-husband during the First Liberian Civil War, from 1989 to 1996.

However, the case was dismissed by the London Central Criminal Court on grounds that the evidence presented by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) failed to prove that the NPFL had the requisite authority over the relevant territory at the time the crimes in question were committed. 

And now she is suing Bility, in a class action lawsuit — an action of damage for malicious prosecution and wrong — alleging negligent investigation and malicious prosecution, seeking US$5 million as punitive damages and US$10 million as general damages from Bility, and two co-defendants Alian Werner and Civitas Maxima, an organization based in Geneva, Switzerland.

The suit claims that Bility and his collaborators' actions inflicted emotional distress and defamed her hard-earned character, leading to emotional distress. 

Werner and Civitas Maxima are outside the jurisdiction of the Court with only Bility residing in Liberia. However, Ms. Taylor is hoping to use the Liberian Court process to hold Bility, Werner, and Civitas Maxima to account for their alleged false statement which led to her prosecution in the UK, though the case was later dismissed.

The GJRP is focused on the documentation of wartime atrocities in Liberia and assists victims in their pursuit of justice for these crimes.  Under Bility’s leadership, the GJRP’s documentation work has led to the investigation and arrests of alleged Liberian war criminals throughout Europe and the U.S., including the arrest of former Liberian rebel commanders Alieu Kosiah in Switzerland, and Martina Johnson in Belgium; the arrest of Ms. Reeves Taylor in the UK; and the arrest and eventual conviction of former ULIMO rebel commander Mohammed Jabbateh in the U.S.

He had testified in several war crime trials, including the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and Charles Taylor trials at the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL); the trial of Charles McArthur Emmanuel, commonly known as Chuckie Taylor in the US; and the Guus Kouwenhoven trial in the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, Cllr. Massaquoi added that Bility has contended that he and his company cannot be held responsible for any damages against Ms. Taylor, because the case came from the Metropolitan Police War Crimes Unit.

“The Metropolitan Police War Crimes Unit cannot be confronted but rather the GJRP and Bility," Cllr. Massaquoi said. 

However, he noted that Bility can in no way, form or manner disclaim liability or shift liability to the Metropolitan Police War Crimes Unit or the UK Magisterial Court or Crown Court of London, who were only privileged to have knowledge of and thereby reacted based on the foreign evidence.”

“The Metropolitan Police relied on Bility’s coached and or paid witness testimonies and sworn statements to maliciously prosecute my client — which testimonies and statements turned out to be unreliable and groundless to the effect that there [is] no truthfulness in his evidence.

“My client was maliciously and criminally prosecuted at the instance of the fabricated and bogus testimonies of Bility's coached witness, which were the legal reliance of the Metropolitan Police to arrest, detain and charge her with the crime of rape and tortured of individuals, in the performance of her duties between 1989 to January 1, 1991, of the Liberian civil war,” Cllr. Massaquoi added.