“Liberia Cannot Go Back to Capital Punishment”

17
1398
Dr. Amaning's (left) outburst comes few weeks after the AFL Chief of Staff, Major General Prince C. Johnson (right), President George Weah, and others began expressing their support for the Death Penalty against perpetrators of rape.

— UN Resident Coordinator Dr. Amaning stresses, frowns on public officials calling for death penalty for rapists

By Simeon S. Wiakanty and William Harmon

The UN Resident Coordinator for Liberia has vehemently opposed calls by some public officials for instituting the death penalty law as a solution to minimize or eliminate the increasing rape cases across the country.

Dr. Kingsley O. Amaning says he is sickened by public officials calls for the reintroduction of Death Penalty as a means of curtailing rape despite Liberia being a signatory to the Second Optional Protocol of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights that abolish Capital Punishment.

Amid the high prevalence rate of rape cases across the country, Dr. Amaning said the situation does not warrant the reintroduction of the death penalty that many see as the best punishment for rapists.

“Liberia cannot go back to capital punishment,” he warned. “And speaking for the UN, we do not subscribe to capital punishment, which is not the solution to the issues of rape in Liberia.”

“We cannot live in a society where people believe that violence is the only way to resolve issues.  I can tell you that it is not durable, sustainable and the only sustainable resolve that can be achieved is the one that comes through none violence,” Dr. Amaning said in a remark when served as a keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony of COHORT TWO students from the Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation (KAICT) at the University of Liberia.

Acknowledging Liberia’s struggle to end sexual and gender-based violence, Dr. Amaning noted that it was inappropriate for public officials to use the situation to push for death penalty as a means to curtail rape.

“We cannot continue to live in a society where the high percentage of the people are vulnerable to danger,” he said. “[However] even by saying this, I do not subscribe to capital punishment as the solution for rape. We should promote a principle where survivors agree to forgive and let go. That will be the only way to sustainable peace,” Dr. Amaning said.

Preceding Dr. Amaning was Elisabeth Hårleman, an outgoing Deputy Chief of Mission of the Swedish Embassy in Liberia.  In her view, Madam Hårleman said a strong justice system and rule of law will be effective in fighting rape than Capital Punishment.

Support for Death Penalty

Dr. Amaning’s outburst comes few weeks after the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Major General Prince C. Johnson, President George Weah, and other private citizens including Liberia 173rd Independence Day orator, Rev. Simeon L. Dunbar suggested Death Penalty for perpetrators of rape.

In his call for Death Penalty, Major Johnson, acknowledge that though Liberia’s international partners would not be in favor of a death penalty for rapists, however, tougher actions must be taken to help end the menace against women and girls. Also, President Weah has lent his support to his officials and private citizens who are calling for capital punishment for rapists.

President Weah at a ministerial taskforce meeting on SGBV vowed to act decisively against perpetrators and pledged his unflinching support for capital punishment for those violating minors.  “With an increasing spike of rape and other sexual gender-based violence (SGBV) crimes against women and girls in the country, the President of Liberia, His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, has stepped up his focus and attention to tackle the issue,” he said.

As for Rev. Dunbar, capital punishment should be introduced due to the alarming number of rape cases involving minors, which he believes will serve as a means of curtailing the harmful act.

“Rape is perpetrated by inhumane men who claim to be citizens of this God-fearing nation. IT IS SAD AND IT NEEDS TO STOP. If that means introducing the death penalty on these evil perpetrators, so let it be,” Rev. Dunbar said.

Vice President, Jewel Howard-Taylor and 2011 Nobel Laureate, Leymah Gbowee, have also called for tougher actions against perpetrators of rape—although the latter is against capital punishment.

Father Kroma Priest Disagress

But in support of Dr. Amaning, the Priest of St. Kizito Parish, Rev. Father. Ambrose Kroma argues that resorting to capital punishment will amount to institutionalizing barbarism and a culture of death.

“Yes, resorting to the death penalty will certainly be counter-productive to efforts in breaking the existing culture of silence against rape,” the Catholic Cleric said in his sermon recently.

Father Kroma and proponents think that capital punishment is not the way forward as it does not guarantee a sustainable solution to the problem. According to Catholic prelate, the call for the death penalty is more of an outcome of “an outrage than a serious reflection and thought as to what can change the prevailing situation.”

“I therefore categorically differ and reject the call for the death penalty as a deterrent or solution to rape,” he said. “Yes, rape in any form and against anyone-male or female; babies, minors, teenage, adult or youth is intrinsically evil; it is diabolical; and must at all times be denounced in the strongest terms and perpetrators, irrespective of who they are; status or position must be given their due process before the law.”

“Our hearts go out in prayer for the victims of such heinous crime; we desire counseling, financial and moral support leading to total healing from the damages, harm, and trauma caused by rape. We must fast track rape cases and strengthen the relevant agencies in bringing justice to the victims,” he said.

Father Kroma is of the strongest conviction that the implementation of the already existing law in its letter and spirit is the best way of securing the interest of the victims.

“May God in His mercy enlighten our consciences as a people and a nation not to resort to institutionalizing the death penalty as a false and quick fix unworkable solution to the prevailing evil of rape in our society,” he added.

With his sermon, the catholic cleric joins Samuel Sakama, a Liberian based in Australia, in denouncing capital punishment. Sakama argues that the death penalty is not the answer to Liberia’s rape problem but a need for leadership to confront what he terms as “the elephants in the room.”

He called on Liberians to press pause and ask themselves whether the death penalty is a solution to alarming rape situation in the country—and for him, he does not think so as there are not any academic consensus or advocacy over the past 50 years that validate that death penalty does deter violent crime.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Amaning and Kromah are not serious! They are being hypocritical and actually insensitive to the permanent danger and torture women and children are in in Liberia regarding this menace of rape!

    If putting into effect the deterrence of death penalty for rape offenders “will amount to institutionalizing barbarism and a culture of death”, THEN WHY the United States, India, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt China, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China,, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and almost all Islamic countries, as well as MANY OTHER COUNTRIES ACROSS THE GLOBE STILL UPHOLD THE DEATH PENALTY???

    Liberia, do not listen to these hypocrites and insensitive hypocrites!!! It is not their relatives whom, if we do not put in place the deterrence of the death penalty that would perpetually suffer these dehumanizing cruelties, tortures, injustice and at times death, as happened in Sierra Leone recently in the case of a 3 years old baby!

    Go back to whichever treaty and erect Liberiaś RESERVATIONS viz the relevant clauses on death penalty! PERIOD!

    If the phenomena of “necessary evil” and “expediency” are acceptable actions and norms within the comity and community of nations, Amaning and Kromah are not serious!

    They are being hypocritical and actually insensitive to the permanent danger and torture women and children are in in Liberia regarding this menace of rape!!! If the death penalty weren´t effective, THEN WHY when Tolbert activated the death penalty, homicide and ritualistic killings disappeared during that period??

    • You are stupid to ask for death penalty for rape in a small country like Liberia with poor justice system that lack the good forensics in Investigation . That will only be putting innocent people accused of the crime to danger . First approach should be to work on the Justice system , equip the investigation department with people of integrity and not with corrupt individuals that threaten innocent people that will be accused .

      • You “Amos”, you are very silly, dull, and insane. Whether small or big country, when people are accused for crimes for which the punishment is death penalty or otherwise, the court does not just go sentencing culprits for the death penalty or otherwise without the required overwhelming evidence and the proof beyond all reasonable doubts!

        Governments are aware that “people” are able to lie every single salt out of any soup” once they intend to actually lie! So those to be hanged for raping shall be bastardly and devilish swines as these hereunder:

        “Family sources who spoke to this paper on anonymity said the lawmaker Representative, Morais T. Waylee (UP-District #2 Grand Gedeh County) has accepted responsibility for the act and has promised to shoulder the financial burden, but asked that it remained under cover.”

        “I am the one who did the act,” Chuluty told FrontPageAfrica shortly after he was charged with the Crime of Rape inn violation of the Act to Amend the New Penal Code Chapter 14 Section 14.70, approved December 29, AD 2005 and Published by Ministry of Foreign Affairs on January 16, 2006.”

  2. Some of us could have supported death penalty for rapists if and only if the police and the justice system was credible.
    It is evidently clear to all that the perpetrators of this shameful, barbaric, abominable and inhumane act are the so-called bigshots within the CDC, as evidenced by the police officer who had to let go a case for fear for his life and job.
    CDC and thugs want to plunge our country again in the jungle justice system with their kangaroo courts and uncultivated and corrupt (foreign) lawyers.

    For Liberians to consider a death penalty, let there be justice for the families who are crying foul for the innocence of their children.
    Can any human being with normal mind and faculty be told that a 13-year old child’s father was informed of a sexual relationship with his uncle (a guardian) and then such father accepts? Look, some of us do not drink water through our nose to believe such imbecility.

    CDC and thugs, there is still time to repeat, or else you will burn in the fiery furnace of hell for your dehumanization of the impoverished children of Liberia.

    • Petarus Dolo, you dare mention about “burn in the fiery furnace of hell for your dehumanization of the impoverished children of Liberia”, while Alex Cummings is there sexually harassing little school boys? Now I see why you rant about government should give perpetrators a chance to repent. Now I see. Folks, peruse this story on Cummings behaving as a rapist.

      Breaking News – West African News Agency
      Cummings Takes Gay Life To Another Level- Sexually Harasses School Boy As He Receives 100,000 USD To Support Gay Activities In Liberia

      A male senior student studying Environemntal Science At Catholic run Stella Maries polytechnic in Liberia alleges Liberian Politician Alexander Cummings asked him for anal sex after their scholarship meeting at Royal Hotel in Sinkor Monrovia. The student who audio is in our possession says he was promised a graduate scholarship at the Northern Illinois University, where he Cummings earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Economics. The student escaped and has been receiving calls from strange numbers threatening to harm him if he discusses what transpired at the hotel. Our Reporter called Mr. Cummings for his side of the story but he declined to make any comment.

      It can be recalled that In January 2020, Local businessman man in the USA Sandy Edwards extended a $100,000 grant to the Liberian based Cummings Africa Foundation Gay Fund, a collective giving and endowment initiative of Foundation For the LGBT communities in West Africa. The Fund which was founded by ANC political leaders Alexander Cummings addresses the historic under-funding of nonprofit organizations that support the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
      “I lived in Liberia for 30 years before the first civil war and I am still in love with the country. I wanted to encourage Liberians in the diaspora and at home to contribute to the Cummings Africa Foundation Gay Fund and thought of no better way than to show it by example,” said Edwards. “I believe the overall success of our community is dependent on promoting understanding and inclusio

      • Let me waste my precious time on you a bit.
        Do not be a faceless coward, disclose your identity if you think the rubbish you’ve written here is credible.
        Secondly, even the university you claim Cummings graduated from is erroneous.

        Beware of defamatory statements, they are punishable before the laws!

        • Dolo or whatever you are really called, when we are working on A SORE (eg. Alex Cummings), we simply do not deal with THE PUS (eg. Petarus Dolo), we just throw the pus away to be able to work on the sore. So, you A PUS, you are only good for the garbage. Bye.

  3. Some of us could have supported death penalty for rapists if and only if the police and the justice system were credible.

  4. To borrow a word from True Nationalist, rape is a “menace” but why the rise? It would include the following:

    1), A weapon of the civil war; 2), overcrowding in urban communities; 3), mass unemployment among marriageable young male adults which makes them unsuitable suitors; 4, lackadaisical attitude of the preceding administration, for example, dozens were released from prison by EJS and told to “Go and sin no more”, thus returning to prey on their helpless victims, and 5), lackluster policing methods due to inadequate resources and forensic expertise for a crime which involves delicate preservation of DNA evidence.

    The foregoing speaks to a holistic approach which capital punishment won’t solve, but instead could spur rapists to kill their victims. Needless to say that in this 21st century, while the rest of the free world getting rid of an inhumane practice even for murder, it is dismaying to hear pro-capital punishment drumbeats from unexpected quarters. My stance is informed by fourteen years of policing in Sierra Leone and another fourteen years in Liberia after training from some of the best institutions. If I were a Caucasian, my advice would’ve been taken seriously.

    Incredibly, that’s how we got into the genocidal war in the first place, those who lack the expertise and experience got carried away by emotionalism. Granted that there are pedophiles with pathological neuroses that induced addiction to molesting children, rape can be reduced by addressing the causes. Our fascination for cheap quick fixes don’t accomplish much. Thankfully, GMW isn’t pushing his feelings on the issue down the throats of our people, he has called for a conversation. It is an auspicious start.

    • But to the credit of George, he has ordered DNA equipments to make the result more credible. But this in itself does not mean that the results can not be fooled around with, as the nation has seen the test results from the Coronavirus that led to the setting up a presidential committee leading to the indefinite suspension of an active official. Now, with the equipments , that means the state does not have to depend on the approval of family members to testify or the victims to testify. The DNA results will be doing all the talking. The state will have no excuse not to prosecute, and also prosecute family members obstructing the functions of the state.

  5. The ongoing escalation and increase in rape cases is not new. We are seeing increased in reporting because communities are responding to their role by reporting. What needs to happen now is the capacity of government institutions to play their role of investigating, prosecuting and sentencing perpetrators. We need support and good political will. Capital punishment is out of the equation. We have moved on as country. We belong to the international community. I have laws. All we need is resources and the will to act rightly.

  6. So according to you, the United States, India, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China,, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and almost all Islamic countries, as well as MANY OTHER COUNTRIES ACROSS THE GLOBE STILL UPHOLDING CAPITAL PUNISHMENT, DO NOT HAVE support and good political will, AND THEY HAVE NOT “MOVED ON” AS INDIVIDUAL COUNTRIES???

    And ALSO, according to your conviction, those countries do not have “government institutions with the capacity to play their role of investigating, prosecuting and sentencing perpetrators”; since of course, CAPITAL PUNISHMENT IS VERY SERIOUSLY WITHIN THE EQUATION AND EQUILIBRIUM OF THOSE COUNTRIES´ LAWS AND ORDER!

  7. A great point, James Davis, but all DNA does is provide physical proof of complainant’s accusation of rape, therefore, a victim must give evidence in court and if a minor in the trial judge’s office. And N. Sam Nouwah got it right that rape was/ is an underreported crime; oh well, what does one expect of the shame and stigma of victims scarred for life. Ironically, especially, when the criminal justice system fails, and accused go free to exact revenge for the ‘embarrassment’ (so to speak) of being arrested. We need a sustained multi-pronged approach to the menace of rape, folks.

  8. Comrade Dolo,
    I am not trying in any way, shape or form to switch topics. The news of homosexuality keeps coming up. I am left with no alternative but to believe that Alexander Benedict Cummings is a homosexual, a bisexual or both. I am wondering! If he is not either or, why can’t he or his surrogates like do more to quell such a rumor? We’ve got lots of issues in Liberia. One of the issues we will not tolerate is for a president to be accused by the Liberian intelligentsia as a boy-child predator. This is unacceptable!

  9. Comrade Hney,

    As I told you before, CDCians have their backs against the wall; there is no way out for them. I once told you they will resort to violence, character assignation and defamatory remarks. We are not even there yet. They will become even desperate to the point of imagining the unimaginable against decent people like Cummings and other partisans and sympathizers like me.

    Don’t worry big brother. We will put them to work. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.

    Le CDC est aux abois, grand frère !

Leave a Reply