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

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees 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.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More