Counselor Tiawan Saye Gongloe says defunct rebels Independent National Patriotic Front (INPFL) leader Senator Prince Y. Johnson, will be prosecuted by all cost by the International Criminal Court or ICC.
Ther ICC is transferring to Liberia to try Sierra Leonean warlord Gibril Massaquoi for alleged atrocities committed in Liberia. He said there is nothing one can or will do to get Johnson off the hook from standing trial for killing people and showing no remorse.
The comments of Cllr. Gongloe’s, also President of the Liberian National Bar Association or LNBA were contained in his final argument in the alleged fraud and irregularities electoral case before the National Elections Commission or NEC on Saturday, 13 February in Monrovia.
Though, Gongloe was not specific with the date when Johnson will be arrested, charged and arraigned before the tribunal, but said any moment Liberians in particular, and the world in general, will get to know.
“General Johnson killed John Bartuah, Edwin Vaye, Edward Gblozou Towah, and many others that are nameable but when the time comes the world will get to know,” he told reporters Saturday in the premises of the National Elections Commission.
The veteran human rights activist narrated how he and Edwin Vaye were in Freetown, Sierra Leone during the course of the war and he advised the deceased not to come to Monrovia as the late Vaye desired, but the advice fell on deaf ears.
“Unfortunate for Edwin, the man (Prince Johnson) he claimed to have known ordered his execution and when others and I got the news, we were not surprise because in the presence of other comrades [I] advised him,” Gongloe reflected.
“He must and will account for his past as crime cannot and will never get rotten whenever you committed it and those charges of human rights violations are clear evidence available,” he added.
Senator Johnson, who regularly attended the hearing session in the James M. Fromayan Conference Hall at the National Elections Commission, was conspicuously absent during final argument on Saturday, 13 February perhaps due to President Weah’s tour but his perceived followers or supporters sharply reacted.
The situation became tense and almost resulted to fist-fight after hearing officer Counselor Boakai P. Harris, adjourned the summary presentation which lasted just 2 hours in total each party – complainant and defense counsel of Edith Gongloe-Weh, and Jeremiah Kpan Koung were allotted an hour.
Inside the NEC compound, both young and old mostly those supporting CPP’s candidate Edith Gongloe-Weh on one side and those supporting candidate Jeremiah Kpan Koung of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction, including two elderly women almost had a physical fight but they were restrained by bystanders.
Because of the tense atmosphere from both sides which drew public attention, the private guards at NEC could not contain the situation and subsequently called in the Police who restored calm.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission or TRC indicted Johnson for heinous crimes, including killing, extortion, massacre, destruction of property, force recruitment, assault, abduction, torture, forced labor and rape.
“General Johnson’s divisiveness is not only harming Nimba County, but Liberia and Liberians in general. Being that he killed most Nimbaians during the course of the war, all of his developments are in Ganta and not in his village he claimed to have come from, when his father is a Sierra Leonean but mother, Gio,” Gongloe disclosed.
Commenting on the electoral process in Nimba County, Gongloe and team stated that Senator Johnson intimidated voters on Election Day by allegedly “wearing military uniform” and his pronouncement of having 150 militants under his control violated section 10.5 of the new electoral law.
Section 10.5 under Undue Influence states: “Any person who, in connection with any election commits or attempts to commit any of the following acts is guilty of an election offense and punishable by a find of not more than One Thousand ($1, 000. 00) or by imprisonment for not more than one (1) year or both.
They said the act of Johnson during electioneering of Tuesday 08 December, 2020, midterm senatorial poll was a violation of the new electoral law, and also benefitted senatorial candidate, Jeremiah Kpan Koung of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction or MDR.
Cllr. Gongloe is brother and the lead counsel for complainant Edith Gongloe-Weh of the Collaborating Political Parties in the CPP versus the National Elections Commission, and that of senatorial candidate Jeremiah Kpan Koung of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction or MDR case for alleged “frauds and irregularities.”
He has been assisted for almost two months during the hearing of the case by two retired Supreme Court’s Chief Justices, Frances Johnson-Allison, and Gloria Musu- Scott.
Others include Counselors Momolu Kandakai, Augustine Fayiah, Kuku Dorbor, Bobby Livingstone, Philip Y. Gongloe and Lawrence Tomah. They have been making case for recount of ballots and rerun in some electoral districts in Nimba County. Editing by Jonathan Browne