TRC’s Indictee Demands Removal of Name From List

 

By: Nat Nyuan-Bayjay,interlink2004@yahoo.com (231-6-402737/231-77-402737)

Sen. Banney: Remove my name from the TRC list or else I'll take them to court

Sen. Banney: Remove my name from the TRC list or else I'll take them to court

The release of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Final Report to the National Legislature has been met with several challenges of the report emulating from some of the alleged perpetrators who are being recommended by the Commission to be prosecuted with the latest coming from the Senior Senator of Rivercess County Jonathan Banney who is demanding that the Commission removes his name from the list of alleged perpetrators recommended for prosecution.

Senator Banney’s name is enlisted among several alleged perpetrators the TRC has categorized as “notorious perpetrators” for gross human rights violations including violations of international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and war crimes and therefore recommends for his prosecution.

‘I Challenge The TRC’

The lawmaker told me that he is challenging the TRC to come with up any evidence against him that he did commit torture against any Liberian. He further explained that he was never given a day in court or asked to appear before the TRC to answer to whatever allegation anyone might have had levied against him during the Commission’s public hearings.

“I challenge the TRC to give me a day in court!!” he exclaimed as he displayed a copy of a letter addressed to the Commission which he said had already delivered to the Commission and awaiting a prompt response.

Senator Banney said the report has no iota of truth in it and therefore asked the Commission to have his name removed from the list.

“I also demand an unconditional expunging or obliteration of my name from the said published final statement of the TRC and an open apology for the wrong committed against me by the Commission in this regard. Otherwise, I would be left with no other alternatives but to seek legal remedy under the circumstances”, Senator Banney said in his letter dated July 6, 2009 to the TRC.

Senator Banney also requested from the Commission the identities of any alleged victims and the opportunity for him to confront them in an open forum in order to “perfect the TRC process” in his particular case.

Senator Banney’s above request of being afforded the opportunity to meet and confront whoever his alleged victims are stems from the provision of an article in the Act of The TRC which calls for a perpetrator-victim interaction in an open forum according to Part II, Section 6.8 which states: “Every person artificial or natural, who is named of wrongdoing, at a public hearing, shall be afforded adequate opportunity to respond in a comprehensible and respectable manner within a reasonable time to be fixed by the Commission”.

 

Further, Section 6.9 states: “Where an accused person responds to allegations, sufficient opportunity shall be afforded him or her to be present in person and to ask questions of the accuser or witness where and when the Commission deems appropriate”.

He further told me: “I’m politely asking the TRC to provide evidence that I tortured anyone within the Republic of Liberia and not just in Rivercess alone”.

The Rivercess County Senator’s name on the Final Report states that he carried out the alleged torture while he was then superintendent of Rivercess County, a position he was appointed to in December of 2005 during the Transitional Government of the Six-Man Council.

“Let Sen. Banney Resign”

At the same time, a pressure group named Rivercess Amunwulun Development Association, through its chairman has asked Senator Banney to resign as senator of Rivercess.

Hilary Mento said the pressure group’s request for Senator Banney’s resignation is based on his (the senator’s) denial of his involvement in committing torture as contained in the Final Report of the TRC. He said the group was taken aback to have heard Senator Banney describing the TRC’s report as untrue.

Mento alleged that the then superintendent led a group of gangs that tortured a group of company workers from a company he only named as PRC in the county who had demanded for their just benefits.

“The surprising thing is that the Superintendent led a gang in 1996 against these people and they were tortured. One Michael Blah who is right now in Tonpoe’s Town in Rivercess County can testify to this. Even Victor Wilson who served as a representative for Rivercess under the Taylor government and travelled to the United States but back in Liberia now can also attest to this”, Mento alleged.

“John Gbeato who was then the council of chief in Rivercess and still in Rivercess is also a victim of Senator Banny under whose mandate people pissed in his mouth”, he continued.

Mento said the association is therefore calling for Senator Banney’s immediate resignation for what he (Mento) described as having a tainted character who cannot lead the people of the county.

But Senator Banney, when contacted said he was only concerned about the TRC’s Final Report and not any other individual. He however denied ever knowing any pressure group called ‘Amunwulun’; neither can he address himself to anyone called Hilary Mentoe.

He further asserted that he has not even received any formal letter from any pressure group requesting for his resignation.

“If anyone has undermined me, I don’t know them. I don’t know any legal organization or pressure group in Rivercess named and styled Amunwulun”.

He suspects that there may be a political intention from whoever that might want to use the issue at stake for his or her personal political gain.

-END-

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