News / Africa

Liberian Lawyer Challenges Use of Foreign Forces During Election

Multimedia

Audio
  • Butty interview with former TRC chairman Jerome Verdier

James Butty

Media reports suggest Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf may be considering the use of Nigerian troops to strengthen security for Liberia’s October 11 general elections.

The Liberian Daily Observer newspaper Monday called on President Sirleaf not to “withhold such vital information from the people.”

Liberian Information Minister Cletus Sieh told VOA he was not prepared to comment on the matter.

However, Jerome Verdier, former chairman of Liberia’s disbanded Truth and Reconciliation Commission said President Sirleaf has no legal authority to unilaterally bring foreign troops into Liberia.

“Firstly, the United Nations is there [in Liberia]. The United Nations has responsibility for security in Liberia.  I think it would be illegal to bring in foreign troops without the consent, or acquiescence, of the United Nations,” he said.

Verdier said President Sirleaf must seek the approval of the Liberian legislature.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf looks on during the closing session of the 17th African Union Summit, at Sipopo Conference Center, outside Malabo, Equatorial Guinea (File Photo - July 1, 2011)
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf looks on during the closing session of the 17th African Union Summit, at Sipopo Conference Center, outside Malabo, Equatorial Guinea (File Photo - July 1, 2011)

“Secondly, is whether the president has the authority to do this unilaterally? No, the president cannot do it alone, that is, exercise sovereign authority.  She must seek the immediate consent of the national legislature. Besides that, there is no justifiable reason for inviting foreign troops into the country,” Verdier said.

The Liberian Daily Observer quotes Senator Abel Massaley as saying that the arrangement to deploy Nigerian troops in Liberia was in line with the 2003 Accra Peace Accord that ended Liberia’s long civil war.

But, the Daily Observer said its research shows the Accra Peace Accord did not authorize an elected government to bring foreign troops into Liberia.  The paper said the accord did allow the Transitional Government of Liberia to bring foreign troops into Liberia in case this was needed.

A former Liberian official, who served in the government of former President Samuel Doe, told VOA on condition of anonymity that, in 1990, President Doe did ask the Economic Community of West African States [ECOWAS] to send foreign troops to Liberia.

But, Verdier said President Sirleaf cannot use the 1990 situation as a precedent because the situations are different.

“In 1980, actually, President Doe requested assistance from Nigeria, not necessarily ECOWAS. But, when the war went out of hand, ECOWAS approached the government of Liberia that there will be a need for them to come in, and ECOWAS troops came in whether the government of Liberia consented or not…But, this is peace time in Liberia and so the analogy cannot be the same; there is no basis except to preserve the president in power.  This is warmongering,” Verdier said.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid