President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has by proclamation declared unconditionally and without reservation, that all persons who, shall surrender small arms and light weapons under the ECOWAS – EU Weapons collection program in Grand Gedeh, Maryland and River Gee Counties within the stipulated project time frame, will be given full Amnesty for the offence of illegal possession, use and supply of fire arms and objects for lethal use against the Republic of Liberia with the restoration of all rights, privileges and immunities under the Constitution and the laws which have been made in pursuance thereof.
According to a Foreign Ministry release, the Liberian leader recognizes that the proliferation and illegal possession of small arms and light weapons poses a grave threat to the peace and stability of Liberia and the sub-region, and constitutes a major tool of fueling armed conflicts and perpetrating crimes.
President Sirleaf has formulated policies and laws, as well as established national structures by law to effectively control the illegitimate flow and possession of small arms and light weapons in Liberia, the sub-region, and the global community, including the transfer of arms by suppliers and arms brokers through Liberia.
Title 26 of the Liberian Code of Law Revised – Penal Code, Section 17.9 (persons precluded from receiving, possessing, or supplying fire arms, destructive devices or ammunition), Section
17.10 (Supplying fire arms destructive and ammunition for criminal activity and to ineligible persons), and Section 17.11 (possession and sale of physical objects for lethal use) criminalizes the illegal possession, use and supply of fire arms and objects for lethal use, the release indicated.
The release quoted the Proclamation as also stating that progressive efforts were also being made by ECOWAS to control the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, including its disastrous consequences (such as its contribution to the prolongation of armed conflicts and illegal exploitation of natural resources) through the “ECOWAS onvention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, their Ammunition and other Related Materials” and implementation of the “Convention” via the 3 years ECOWAS – EU Small Arms Project (a 3-year weapons collection
program) within the broader context of “Disarmament and Community Development” or “Weapons for Development” in the Sahel Region and the Mano River Basin.
The project component covering Liberia, specifically Grand Gedeh, River Gee, and Maryland Counties, will significantly contribute to the development of the community and its inhabitants, the maintenance of
peace and peace-building, and the safety and security and of Liberia and the sub-region.
According to the release, the ECOWAS-EU Small Arms Project entails voluntary weapons surrender by civilians in the targeted communities which, by so doing constitutes a violation of the laws of the Republic of Liberia, and for which the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms (LiNCSA) requests a form of dispensation for members of the targeted communities to be exempt from any security and legal scrutiny or actions, and to also ensure the confidentiality of identity for persons reporting weapons under the project.-Press release