U.S. Court Summons Sirleaf and Others for Alleged War Crimes Committed in Liberia

The United States District Court of Massachusetts in Boston has issued a writ of summons for former president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and others to face accusations over their alleged roles played in the Liberian civil war.

Torli Krua, a Liberian in the U.S. along with his father, Mahn Krua, had filed a lawsuit against Sirleaf and others, including former president Charles Taylor; the government of Liberia, represented by President George Weah; former Defense Minister Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu; and the U.S. Navy, represented by its secretary, Richard Spencer.

The defendants in the case titled: “Rev. Mahn Coaley Krua et al [plaintiff] v. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf et al [defendant],” are being accused of being the main perpetrators and sponsors of atrocities committed against civilians, including violence, torture, and rape, during the country’s bloody civil war.

Krua told The Bush Chicken some of the accused, including Sirleaf, knowingly provided material and financial support to the atrocities, while others presided over its implementation. [Full disclosure: Torli Krua is a part owner of The Bush Chicken]

According to the court’s document, the suit was filed on Friday, March 26 and Judge Denise Casperis was assigned to the case.

Sirleaf reportedly told Prime FM in Monrovia last week that she was unaware of the lawsuit against her. She promised to file a suit against those spreading the news, if the report of the suit was untrue.

She, however, promised to contact her lawyer in the U.S. to investigate the information regarding the suit.

The former Liberian leader also urged those suing her for her alleged role in the country’s civil war to do so in Liberian courts, rather than in the U.S.

Meanwhile, the U.S. court has given Sirleaf and her co-defendants 21 days following the serving of the summon to respond to their charges or judgement would be rendered in favor of the accusers.

“If you fail to respond, judgement by default will be entered against you for the relief demanded in the complaint,” the writ stated.

Featured photo by Michael Muraz. Editor’s note: A previous version of this article version of this article used the term ‘indictment,’ suggesting this was a criminal court proceeding. This case is a civil case and the article has been edited to reflect such.

Gbatemah Senah

Gbatemah is a graduate of the University of Liberia and a recipient of the Jonathan P. Hicks Scholarship for Mass Communications. In 2017, Senah won three Press Union of Liberia awards: Women's Rights Reporter of the Year, Legislative Reporter of the Year, and Land Rights Reporter of the Year. In 2018, he was also recognized as the Land Rights Reporter of the Year.

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