of the former Liberian Peace Council, one of the many factions in Liberia's 14-year-old
civil war has sued the U.S.-based Advocates for Human Rights group for
George Boley, who served as Minister of State for Presidential
Affairs under President Samuel Doe, was accused by a witness testifying before
the Truth Commission earlier this year of looting unspecified amounts of cash
and valuables from the private home of President William R. Tolbert following
the April 12, 1980 coup. His Liberian
Peace Council is also accused of committing various crimes during the Liberian
Boley told VOA the Advocates for Human
Rights has defamed his character.
"I did file a complaint in
the federal court in Minneapolis, Minnesota against the human rights group
known as the Advocates for Human Rights in Minnesota. If you recall, back in
2006 in November, the deputy director of that organization was on Minnesota
Public Radio, along with Jerome Verdier, chairman of the TRC (Truth and
Reconciliation Commission) in Liberia. And without reason, without regards for
the truth announced to the world that I George Boley am in custody in the
United States, along with Chuckie Taylor (the convicted son of former Liberian
President Charles Taylor) for crimes committed in Liberia, human rights
violation, which is really baseless and untrue. So I just filed a lawsuit for
defamation," he said.
Boley said he sent a letter
to the organization in December 2006 asking to correct what he called a huge
mistake, but he said the group did not acknowledge his letter.
Asked if he is seeking
monetary damage in his lawsuit, Boley said that issue would be decided by the
"No amount of money can
repair the damage. To even classify me with the lights of Chuckie Taylor, I
mean what are these people talking about? Do they really know what they are
talking about? These are the people we believe are working with our TRC in
Liberia. I mean I want the damage repaired, in whatever way it has to be
repaired. It has to be repaired. And I think talking to you and letting people
know that these people are not infallible, and that they do make mistakes. And
when they speak they don't speak authoritatively, I think it's very important,"
Boley admitted he took part
in the Liberian conflict but denied violating human rights or committing any
crimes against humanity.
"Every Liberian took part in
the conflict, whether it's through thought, through actions, through whatever
can be done to restore peace. Let's be very frank, I know there is a lot of
disinformation about what I did, what role I played. In fact people say the LPC
did this, the LPC did that. The Liberia Peace Council was founded in 1990 as an
instrument of seeking political settlement for the Liberian crisis. I have
never been in any position; I've never given any instruction to do anything in
violation of human rights. I've not been in the field; I've not given any
instruction to violate anybody's rights," Boley said.
Boley said he would be
willing to testify before the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission
about what he knows took place during the conflict if he is invited to appear.
"I don't have a problem with
that. Once invited I'll make myself available. If you read the transcript of my
press conference in January of 2008 in Monrovia, I have said I'm available. In fact
I endorsed the TRC. I welcomed it. I think it's a good thing, and once called
upon, I'm prepared to present myself and give my side of the story, what I know
from 1979 and 2003 and maybe more. But I haven't received any invitation,"
Boley said he was not sure
whether by suing the Advocates for Human Rights he was also suing the Liberian
Truth and Reconciliation Commission, giving that the fact that the rights group
works in partnership with the TRC.
"I don't know the legality.
They (the Advocates for Human Rights) are the implementing partners for the
TRC. I'm not sure the TRC authorized them to do that. We'll find that out when
the trial begins," Boley said.
said he doesn't know when his case, which he said is before a U.S. federal
court in Minneapolis, would begin.