Boley: I Did Not Lead A Warring Faction
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Monrovia, February 5, 2009 (TRC): The leader of the defunct Liberia Peace Council (LPC), George Boley Thursday denied that he was a leader of a warring faction in Liberia.
Dr. Boley accepted that although he founded a group styled the Liberia Peace Council in April 1990, he had no involvement and knowledge of a warring faction named the Liberia Peace Council.
"That has to be an LPC that I don't know anything about. Anybody can call themselves LPC. You know people would go around purporting themselves in a manner that doesn't obtain. At no time did I lead a Liberia Peace Council but I founded a Liberia Peace Council. However, I am not associated with the role of the former," Dr. Boley, who represented the former warring faction on a collective presidency, styled Liberia National Transitional Government in 1995 said.
The former minister was the last head of a former warring faction appearing before Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). He also joined a spate of denials of massive human rights violations by fighters of the former warring factions during the country's decade and a half civil conflict.
Boley: "The organization you are talking about as far as I am concerned and in the context of relationship, I have no idea."
He claimed that the group he founded was intended to ensure a peaceful and non-belligerent solution to the crisis in Liberia.
"I failed to see how initiatives of the LPC translate to human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian laws. The LPC that I know was a focused and respected body."
He declared that at no time was the LPC transformed into a fighting force and accused the TRC of prejudice against him.
"The LPC was the Committee for the Restoration of Constitutional Democracy in Liberia. As far as I am concerned, I am an accused man sitting here and unless I can face my accusers, I am not going to comment on the LPC further. With respect to the accusations, I request that I be confronted by my accusers. I feel that this commission is prejudice against me and at this point I have no further comments to make," he said.
Dr. Boley claimed he represented himself on the collective presidency of the LNTG and not the LPC, but later acknowledged that he signed the 1995 Abuja Peace Accord in two capacities - leader of the LPC/Coalition and LPC.
Liberia is recovering from years of conflict that was characterized by horrific human rights violations, including arbitrary killings, use of child combatants, rape and sexual violence, separation of families, and looting and destruction of properties. Out of a population of 3 million, an estimated 300,000 Liberians were killed, with as many as 1.5 million displaced.
Scores of key military and political actors appearing before the TRC have denied responsibilities of atrocities.
Witnesses appearing before the TRC accused the former warring factions including Dr. Boley's LPC of gross human rights abuses, including rapes, tortures, arson and mass killings.
With these waves of denials the question lingering on the minds of people is how could nearly 300,000 Liberians died in an arm conflict with no perpetrator to take responsibility for their deaths.
Under the theme: "Understanding the Conflict Through its Principal Events and Actors," the ongoing hearings are addressing the root causes of the conflict, including its military and political dimensions.
The hearings are focused on events between 1979 and 2003 and the national and external actors that helped to shape those events.
The TRC was agreed upon in the August 2003 peace agreement and created by the TRC Act of 2005. The TRC was established to "promote national peace, security, unity and reconciliation," and at the same time make it possible to hold perpetrators accountable for gross human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law that occurred in Liberia between January 1979 and October 2003.
Mambu James Kpargoi, Jr.
Media & Information Officer