An alleged former warlord, George Boley, faces immigration proceedings Monday in Monrovia after being deported from the United States. But former truth commission chairman Jerome Verdier
said Boley, accused of major human rights abuses, will likely go free. Verdier said this is a common state of affairs in Liberia, which he feels has not done enough to hold war criminals accountable. “The message it sends out to all the perpetrators is that probably their only safe haven will be in Africa or Liberia,” Verdier said.
“For now in Liberia, there are no actions pending or anticipated to be taken against people who fall in that category of committing international crimes against their people.” Verdier said Liberia, under President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has allowed a number of accused war criminals to avoid justice. President Sirleaf has emphasized reconciliation after 14 years of a brutal civil war. The Truth and Reconciliation commission had recommended the establishment of a “National Palava Hut Forum” but only for those accused of less serious crimes.
At his deportation hearing, U.S. immigration officials said Boley’s Liberia Peace Council rebel movement committed human rights abuses and recruited child soldiers during Liberia’s civil war in the 1990s. Boley denied the allegations. Abla Williams, acting commissioner for the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, said her office has no legal reason to detain Boley. “As I’ve said, there was no official report from the American immigration authorities, there was a note sent to the foreign ministry about the state of arrival. That is all I can say about it for now,” Williams said. She said Boley arrived on a commercial flight, which means his arrival was voluntary. “He will pay us a visit on Monday, where we will finish his processing, and that will be all.”