Liberia: George Dweh, Notorious Civil War Actor, Is Dead

George Dweh, a key player in the Liberian civil war that claimed the lives of over 250,000 and destroyed infrastructures across the country, is dead. He was born March 6, 1961.

Mr. Dweh's death was announced on Saturday, April 04, 2020. According to Sinoe County lawmaker J. Nagbe Sloh who posted the death news of Dweh on his Facebook page, he died of a heart attack.

According to the Sinoe County lawmaker, Mr. Dweh fell sick at his residence and was hastily rushed to the John F. Kennedy Medical Centre where he died on arrival. "In fact, the family is planning to take him to Grand Gedeh County for burial," said Representative Sloh.

George Dweh, a cousin of the late President Samuel K. Doe, is on record for his active role in systematic killings of Manos, Gios and other perceived enemies in Monrovia during the Liberian civil war. He, according to reports, was a member of the Nyonblu Tailey death squad that roamed Monrovia especially Sinkor at the height of the civil war in 1990. The entire Johnny Nah family was massacred by a death squad led by George Dweh, according to lone survivor Johnny Nah Jr who testified before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

In one human rights report about massacres committed in Liberia, George Dweh is recorded among others as one who allegedly participated in the massacre of 27 Gio and Mano families that were members of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) residing at the Barclay Training Center (BTC). In other instances, George Dweh is recorded for allegedly eliminating the Johnny Nah family in Monrovia in 1990, and participated in the massacre of 250 persons, most of them Gio and Mano tribes, at the John F. Kennedy Hospital on August 2, 1990.

Dweh's active and brutal role in the Liberian civil war did not end following the death of Doe in 1990. He later became an active member of the notorious rebel group, Liberia United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) that invaded Liberia in 1999 in Lofa County from neighboring Guinea. He subsequently became a founding member of the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) that came by way of the Ivory Coast in 2003.

Following the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) in Ghana in 2003, George Dweh ascended to the post of Speaker of the National Transitional Legislative Assembly (NTLA) from 2003 to 2005 March 14, and he was suspended from the Assembly after being accused of financial mismanagement and corruption.

Dweh contested in the 2017 presidential election as a candidate for the Redemption Democratic Congress (RDC) and accrued a total vote of 4,935. George Dweh is survived by six children; all of them having names that are derivatives of his name, 'George'.

The death of Dweh without having faced justice for his alleged crimes, according to local rights and justice advocates, underscores the urgent need for the Government of Liberia to establish a War and Economic crimes court in order to combat and end the scourge of impunity in Liberia. Dweh's passing has left the human rights community with a sense of loss in that the opportunity to have him face justice is now lost forever, says a prominent justice advocate (name withheld) who fears that other key perpetrators may likely die before facing justice given the undue delay and seeming reluctance of this government to do what its predecessor failed to do.

"We need to be fast in making sure that the court is established because most of the warlords and perpetrators of war crimes are getting old and may die soon," the justice advocate and human rights lawyer said.

It can be recalled that President George Weah once campaigned on the promise that he would establish a war crimes court to try perpetrators of gross human rights abuse upon taking over as President. But that promise appears to have faltered with no visible sign yet that President Weah is going to make good on his promises, according to observers, despite a rising public cry for justice.

Meanwhile, scores of major players in the Liberian war are still around, some of them serving as lawmakers and enjoying state resources. Some are Senator Prince Y. Johnson of Nimba County (Independent National Patriotic Front); Representative George Boley of Grand Gedeh (Liberia Peace Council); Alhaji G.V. Kromah (ULIMO-K), Thomas Yahyah Nimely (MODEL) and Seku Damateh Konneh (LURD). Alhaji Kromah is now on a bed of affliction, having since faded from the political scene and seemingly vanished from public life.

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