8 May 2013

Liberia: Extradition Trial for Ivorians Resumes

After failing in several legal proceedings to extradict eight Ivorians charged with multiple crimes in their homeland, state prosecutors yesterday finally succeeded in setting the stage for the suspected mercenaries to be sent back home for trial.

Presiding Judge Nelson Chineh of the Monrovia City Court, Temple of Justice, Tuesday opened the door for the hearing of the case after denying defense lawyers' seven-count motion seeking to dismiss the extradition request of prosecutors.

Defense lawyers claimed that the doctrine of 'Rest Judicata' for re-instituting the proceeding was unlawful as the matter had already been heard and adjudicated, giving no more room for any judge to hear it again.

But in his ruling, Judge Chineh did not agree with the defense lawyers's contention that the doctrine of 'Rest Judicata' would suffice.

Instead, he conceded with the prosecution's arguments that in order for 'Rest Judicata' to lie, the case in point referenced by or the judgement reached by the court must be final. But there was no finality in the case, prosecutor pointed out.

"In the instant case reference of this motion, the defense lawyers earlier moved this court to dismiss state prosecutors' petition for reasons that there was an on-going proceeding in another court in this Republic against the defendants for the same crime for which they were being sought to be extradited.

"The defendants' contention was formed to be supported by the treaty, a binding legal arrangement between the Government of Ivory Coast and the Government of Liberia, which treaty was noted to have long since been ratified, thus giving it a legal force", he explained.

He further noted that the court was aware and knowledgeable of the statute controlling extradition proceedings specifically Section 8.2 of the criminal procedure law which provides that if any provision of the criminal statute controlling extradition proceedings is inconsistent with the terms of the treaty relied upon by the parties, the treaty prevails.

"Wherefore and in view of the foregoing, it is the holding of this court that defense lawyers' motion to dismiss should be and same is hereby denied. Trial is hereby ruled to be proceeded with. And it is hereby so order", Judge Chineh directed.

On April 18, 2013 the state issued a writ for the arrest of eight Ivorians wanted in their homeland for trial on various criminal offences relating to the civil war in that neighboring West African State.

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