STATEMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT OF LIBERIA ON THE REPORTS FROM THE JOINT TASK FORCE BOARD OF INQUIRY/ MINISTRY OF DEFENSE AND THE INDEPENDENT NATIONAL COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS (INCHR) RELATING TO THE SHOOTING INCIDENT ON AUGUST 20, 2014

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November 5, 2014

The Government of Liberia has received and analyzed two Reports relating to the incident of August 20, 2014, in the Township of West Point resulting into the death of Shaki Kamara and the wounding of Titus Nuah.

The first Report is from the Joint Task Force Board of Inquiry established by the Ministry of Defense. The second is from the Independent Human Rights Commission. The two Reports were separately received by the President – that of the Joint Task Force Board of Inquiry of the Ministry of Defense was received on September 9, 2014 while the Report of the Independent Human Rights Commission was received on October 28, 2014.

Upon the presentation of the first Report, the President instructed the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia to take the appropriate measures in identifying and investigating those personnel of the AFL who were responsible in conformity with the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

The military requested additional time to adhere to and fulfill the processes of the UCMJ leading to a delay in the presentation of the first Report to the Public. In keeping with the processes and procedures of the UCMJ, a special Disciplinary Board of the Armed Forces needed to be set up, further investigation conducted, and findings presented to the President and Commander-In-Chief along with appropriate recommendations.

These processes and procedures have been concluded and the results of the investigation by the Disciplinary Board of the Armed Forces of Liberia have been presented to the President.

The findings from the Disciplinary Board of the AFL concluded that a Platoon Commander and four enlisted men were guilty of indiscretion and exhibited indiscipline on August 20, 2014 in the Township of West Point. Accordingly,  the following sanctions were imposed on these men:

  1. Lieutenant Aloysius Quaye—Platoon Commander: He was held responsible for poorly assessing the situation and acting contrary to the behavior expected of a military leader in the reformed AFL. As a leader in a situation of crisis, he was “expected to show efficient command after serving in the AFL for over five years” with training locally and in foreign parts. He should have been able to handle simple crowd control and dispersal. As a military leader, he did not follow proper military procedures in selecting personnel to fire warning shots. Although no evidence was adduced that any of the personnel of the AFL fired the fatal shot that killed Shaki Kamara, the Disciplinary Board thought it absolutely necessary to institute punishment for behavior unbecoming of a serving personnel of the AFL.

As such, Lieutenant Aloysius Quaye, Platoon Commander is:

  1. Guilty of violating Article 133 of the UCMJ regarding the uncecoming conduct of an officer or gentleman;
  2. Guilty of Article 92-C of the UCMJ regarding dereliction in the performance of duty.

The punishment prescribed under the UCMJ include:

  1. Reduction in rank to the lowest rank permissible under the category of the accused;
  2. Two (2) years loss of seniority with consequential effects;
  3. Thirty (30 days) correctional custody;
  4. Thirty (30) days detention;
  5. Forfeiture of 2/3 salary for 3 months; and
  6. Letter of Severe Reprimand.

Additionally, the following enlisted personnel of the AFL were found guilty of various offences  of the UCMJ. They include:

  1. Corporal Mulbah Timothy—Violation of Article 128 of the UCMJ regarding assault and arbitrary use of force;
  2. Corporal Flomo Anthony—Violation of Article 128 of the UCMJ regarding assault and arbitrary use of force as well as Article 134  regarding threat in communicating;
  3. Corporal Toure Patrick—Violation of Article 107 of the UCMJ regarding making false statements;
  4. Private First Class Salebia Moses—Violation of Article 107 of the UMCJ regarding making false statement.

The prescribed punishment for the four enlisted men include:

  1. Reduction in rank to the next lower rank;
  2. 30 days correctional custody;
  3. 30 days detention; and
  4. Letters of Severe Reprimand.

The Commander-In-Chief has directed that all punishments be carried out in compliance with the relevant provisions and practices of the UCMJ.The second Report from the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) was presented to the President of Liberia on October 28, 2014 with the following recommendations:

(a)That the Government should improve the living conditions of its citizens living in West Point.

Reaction: The Government feels that all slum communities should be rebuilt and developed with emphasis on the transformation of the lives of all citizens. This objective is part of the government’s agenda for change and is incorporated in its development agenda.

(b)That the Township Commissioner of West Point be reassigned.

Reaction: The Government has instructed the Minister of Internal Affairs to take the appropriate action in reassigning the Township Commissioner;

  1. That counseling sessions by the Government, NGOs, human rights and civil society organizations be initiated to help the youth of urban Liberia to cope with anger “brought on by frustration,poverty,  ignorance and stigmatization, and while at it, offer them hope.”

Reaction: Like all others this is an important recommendation which requires collective attention and support from all stakeholders. In this regard, the government pkedfe to continue to work with all relevant stakeholders and interested parties to achieve these ends.

  1. “As to the late Shaki Kamara, the Commission recommends that the President of Liberia extends a public apology to the family’ and that monetary compensation be made. The “amount to be determined by the Government in collaboration with the Interreligious Council.”

Reaction: The Government, in August, extended heartfelt condolences to the family of the late Shaki Kamara, and the President visited the family to express deepest sympathy. The President will continue to publicly apologize to Shaki Kamara’s family and all those who were hurt by the unfortunate occurrences of August 20, 2014. Consistent with this recommendation, the President will invite and work with the Interreligious Council to determine the compensation for the family of Shaki Kamara. We note sadly, however, that for this government, no monetary value will compensate for the life of a human being, or in this case, a Liberian citizen. We view our duty as enabling the lives of all of our citizens.

As to the recommendation by the Commission that a health center be erected in memory of Shaki Kamara, the Government will endeavour to renovate and equip the West Point Community Clinic to the memory of Shaki.

(e) That Titus Nuah be flown to Accra, Ghana for further treatment to be accompanied by a family member and the physician who operated on him at the S.D.A. Cooper Hospital in Monrovia.

Reaction: The Government accepts this recommendation unreservedly and will carry out its obligation in the coming days. Also the issue of compensation will be discussed with the Interreligious Council still convinced that our valuation of life is beyond monetary values.

(f) That Sylvester Kromah who sustained injuries from barbwires while trying to escape the shooting be compensated.

Reaction: The government is in agreement with this recommendation and will discuss with the Interreligious Council on the form of compensation.

  1. As for Mr. Alfred Nagbe who was wrongly “accused of stealing a generator,” the Commission recommends that the Liberia National Police (LNP) render a public apology to him and that the government compensate him with money.

Reaction: This recommendation is accepted by the government and the amount to be paid will be discussed with the Interreligious Council.

  1. That when the shooters are identified, “they be stripped of their immunities, if any, and tried or prosecuted in a Court of law for their reckless disregard for Shaki Kamara’s right to life and Titus Nuah’s right to a safe environment and protection of his person by the Government.”

Reaction: To this important end, the Government of Liberia has instructed the Ministry of Justice to invite all witnesses to the shooting to help in identifying those who were responsible. The President has further instructed that as soon as such persons are identified, they must be charged and held accountable before the laws of the Republic.

The Government extends thanks and appreciation to all members of the Disciplinary Board of the Ministry of Defense, those of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights, and all citizens of the Republic who helped with the investigations.

Again, to the family of the late Shaki Kamara, the Government deeply regrets his loss and extends publicly to his family its deepest sympathy.

Also, the Government expresses regrets to all those who were wounded in this unfortunate incident as well as their families.   May the good Lord guide and protect you all in these difficult times.

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