21 February 2013

Liberia: Ivorian Mercenaries Case Resumes

Eight Ivorian mercenaries detained at the Monrovia Central Prison or South Beach are expected to appear before the Monrovia City Magisterial Court today, Thursday, for a continuation of their extradition proceedings that was paused last court term, pending a Supreme Court's intervention.

Defense lawyers representing defendants Komandee Mohegnan Vakery, Nemlin Rerik Anbtiube, Djikezon Guei, Martin Nioule, Frank Oilvier, Nioule Junior and others had petitioned the Criminal Court "A" at the Temple of Justice to reverse Magistrate Nelson B. Chinneh's ruling in which he denied their "motion to dismiss" prosecutors' petition for extradition.

The defendants are facing multiple charges for allegedly siding with ex-president Laurent Gbagbo, currently indicted for war crimes in The Hague, and engaging into rebel activities to destabilize President Allasane Ouatara's government.

Their lawyers had strongly argued that extraditing the defendants to Ivory Coast would result to their direct execution or torture by Ivorian authorities as political prisoners on grounds that they are being perceived as political enemies on the basis of ethnicity.

But the defendants did not succeed at the Criminal Court "A", where Judge James W. Zotaa ruled that the Foreign Ministry here was using the Justice Ministry as a channel to exercise the extradition treaty signed between the Republic of Liberia and the Republic of Ivory Coast.

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