The jury of Criminal Court ‘D’ is expected today, June 10 to announce a verdict in the mercenary trial following a month-long proceedings, in which government had earlier dropped charges against five of the 18 defendants.
The verdict will be announced immediately following closing arguments by both defense lawyers and the prosecution team.
The defendants were charged for allegedly staging a cross border raid in neighboring La Côte d’Ivoire where several persons including seven United Nations peacekeepers were believed to have been killed.
The claim the defendants denied when they testified in their own defense, claiming government action is “witch hunt,” because they belong to the Krahn ethnic group of late President Samuel K. Doe.
They further claimed the action was because most of them took part in the 14 years of civil crisis in Liberia.
They have been in detention at the Monrovia Central Prison for over three years, since they were arrested between 2011 and 2012 in Grand Gedeh County, the eastern part of the country.
During the trial, prosecution presented dozens of documentary evidences and hours of in-court testimony from senior Ivorian security personnel.
Government lawyers argued that Neezee Barway, one of the defendant was the person behind the entire scheme, recruiting the others defendants to take part in the fighting in that country’s post-election conflict.