Press Releases

Roland Duo Joins Chorus Of Denials...Denies Allegations of Murders, Rapes and Tortures

Montserrado County, Liberia
08 December, 2008
Categorized as pertaining to: Hearings

A former senior frontline commander of Charles Taylor's National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) and government, Roland Duo Wednesday joined the chorus of denials of atrocities by key war actors.

Testifying before commissioners of Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Rebel General Duo denied knowledge of the Mahel River Massacre in 2003 in Bomi County and dismissed allegations of atrocities by witnesses appearing before the commission.

Gen. Duo denied allegations of gross human rights violations including murders, rapes and arsons, saying that if atrocities were committed they were done without his knowledge and acquiescence.

"If those atrocities were committed as alleged, I had no knowledge of them and did not participate in them. I cannot denied allegations of atrocities, but I had no personal participation," the once dreaded commander of former President Taylor's Navy Division told commissioners of Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

But Duo said that the war was directed and controlled by former President Charles Taylor. Answering a commissioner's question of blame for the atrocities, Mr. Duo said that he did not want to indict Mr. Taylor.

"If you asked me about massacres and some other killings, I do not want to answer for Mr. Taylor, he will answer for himself."

He was testifying at the ongoing public hearings of the TRC Thematic and Institutional Hearings at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion in Monrovia.

Duo rebuffed allegations by witnesses of massive human rights abuses by he and his forces in Lofa County, saying that the war in Lofa was prosecuted by combined forces of other unit of the former government.

"It would be contradictory if the people of Foya told you that I Roland Duo massacred 1000 people, when they just honored me in that part of the country," he added.

"No one can denied the way things went in the country, so if people say I did something to them they can take me to task; but if it is to share responsibility that you are asking me about, I take my share because I was in leadership and there was no reason for the things that happened in the country and the amount of people to die or died. It is beyond my own reasoning," he explained.

He confirmed knowledge of the presence of the late Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebel commander, Sam "Maskita" Bockarie in Liberia, saying that he was then seeking refuge with General Benjamin Yeatan, former chief of staff of Taylor's government frontline forces.

But Mr. Duo denied knowledge of the rebel incursion in neighboring Sierra Leone and ever fighting a proxy war in the country.

"The war in this country I participated in it in several ways. But I am convinced that I did not commit any crimes during the war. But soldiers died and other people died so I am sorry for what happened," he said.

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.

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