Despite reports including a live radio broadcast on Voice of America (VOA-Day Break Africa program) that former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has been sued at a U.S. Court for war crimes allegedly committed in Liberia during the civil conflict, she has trashed the information and termed it as a blatant lie.
Responding to interview questions from former Information Minister Lawrence Bropleh on the Bumper Show, Madam Sirleaf said upon receipt of information that a lawsuit had been filed against her, along with a number of other Liberians for war crimes committed in Liberia during the 15-year carnage, her lawyer counter-checked the information upon her request and informed her that it was not true.
“When someone told me that there is a post on social media stating that I was sued in the U.S. to answer to war crimes, I immediately contacted my lawyer to check it up and advise me. He did and came back only with a finding that it was not true and there is no need to give it credence,” she said. “But even if it were true, I am not afraid of any court case because my records both in private and public service can exonerate me.”
To the contrary, Daily Observer has a copy of the summons, filed in the District Court of Massachusetts in Boston.
In fact in the live VOA Day Break Africa broadcast, presenter James Butty, who ran the story, reported that a summons was allegedly issued; but he did not indicate if it was served on the former president or her lawyers. He noted that she has twenty-one days as of March 26 to respond.
He also interviewed the former head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, (TRC) Cllr. Jerome Verdier for his reaction. Verdier expressed his support to the process and hailed Torli Krua, a Liberian in the U.S. and his father, Rev. Mahn Coaley Krua, for taking the bold step to bring the former president and her accomplices to face justice.
“Ellen may think that giving US$ 10,000 to a rebel faction to go to war against a government, and more so with over two hundred thousand innocent lives destroyed is not a case. Yes, she lied before the TRC that she gave only that money and it was for humanitarian purposes. But we disagreed with her after discovering that she was even the main fundraiser for the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) of jailed President Charles G. Taylor, who led the rebel faction that immensely contributed to the destruction of the country and its people,” Verdier said.
He added that the TRC’s findings revealed that the former president was a major factor in the recruitment of child soldiers who destroyed the lives of their own people.
The lawsuit also named former NPFL Defense Minister Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu, former president Charles Taylor, US Navy Secretary Richard Spencer and President George Manneh Weah, as a sitting head of state of Liberia to the case.
According to court document, the suit was filed on Friday, March 26, and Judge Denise Casperis was assigned to the case.
Meanwhile, the former president urged those who are suing her to do so in Liberian courts, rather than in U.S courts.
Concerning officials in the CDC government, as well as others from her former political party, UP, who usually try to discredit her efforts spent on making Liberia a stable country, Ellen said she will continue to ignore them.
“I hear all the criticisms but I leave them with their conscious minds. I am not here to help them become relevant by debunking accusations and several other things,” she said. “I am not afraid of any legal proceedings as it is clear that I declared my assets before ascending to the presidency in 2006 and did same in 2011. I also declared my assets in 2018 before leaving office.”