17 March 2014

Liberia: 15 Jurors Rejected - As Mercenarism Trial Resumes

With advanced preparations to resume the "put on ice" trial of several Liberians accused of acts of mercenarism for their alleged roles in the border attacks near the Liberian-Ivorian border, the first set of individuals brought forward to serve as jurors have been rejected by lawyers representing the interest of the suspected mercenaries.

The defense lawyers led by human rights lawyer Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe opposed the first fifteen jurors in open court during the jury selection process, questioning each of them as to his or her relationship with the defendants, educational background among other things.

Following the immediate rejection of the jurors who felt disappointed in the defense team of the alleged mercenaries, Presiding Judge Emery Paye instructed the sheriff of the court to forward another batch of jurors.

"The sheriff of this court is hereby ordered to go the various criminal courts within the Temple of Justice and find good citizens or jurors to come and serve in this case," Judge Paye instructed.

The order of the Criminal Court "D" Judge was implemented as over fifteen jurors taken from criminal courts "A" and "B" were brought in, but they were opposed by lawyers representing the Government of Liberia without any reason or reasons.

Few minutes after prosecution(State Lawyers) rejected said jurors during a long chambers discussion with both prosecution and defense lawyers, Judge Paye scheduled the jurors selection process for today, March 17, 2014 at the hour of 10:am and warned all parties to be present and on time. The eighteen Liberians who were indicted by the Government of Liberia were on trial in 2013, but said trial was cut off by then Judge Yussif D. Kaba on ground that some of the defendants exhibited misconduct in open court during the trial.

The defendants have been charged with multiple crimes ranging from rape, murder, theft of property, mercenarism among other crimes are on trial for thadeeir alleged role in a cross-border attack two yers ago at the Liberian-Ivorian border which claimed many lives including the lives United Nations peacekeepers assigned in the Ivory Coast.

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