25 January 2013

Liberia: Ivorian Mercenaries Resist Extradition

Eight Ivoirians and several suspected mercenaries jailed in Monrovia for allegedly engaging in cross border rebel activities into Ivory Coast are resisting petition by the Government of Liberia to have them extradited for prosecution.

The prosecutors had filed a petition before the Monrovia Magisterial City Court at the Temple of Justice to extradite defendants Komade Mohegnan Vakery, Nemlin Rerik Anbtiube, Djikezon Guei Martin, Nioule Frank Oliver, Nioule Junior, Nioule Ourogbo Edward and Toure Badison Julien.

But resisting prosecutors' petition on Thursday, defense lawyers argued that extraditing the defendants will result [to their] direct execution or torture by the Ivorian authorities as political prisoners on grounds that they are being perceived as political enemies on the basis of ethnicity.

"Respondents say they were part of mass exodus that entered into Liberia from the Republic of Ivory Coast because their lives were in imminent danger due to ethnic cleansing and clannishness," the defense claimed.

The defense further argued that states are obligated to ensure respect for their "obligations" under international human rights law and, if a wanted person is a refugee or an asylum seeker, "non-refoulement" provisions under international human rights and refugee law apply irrespective of whether applicable extradition treaties or national extradition law provides for the refusal of the extradition.

The defense lawyers however perceived state lawyers' stance to extradite the defendants to Cote d'Ivoire as an attempt to "become both prosecuting and persecuting agent of the Government of the Republic of Ivory Coast.

Notwithstanding, matters were adjourned Thursday to resume at the City Court today.

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