‘I have never in my life killed a chicken least to say waste blood of human being’
…Koijee dismisses Verdier’s Claims of Murder and Attack
Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Tamba Koijee says he has never in his life killed a chicken least to say waste the blood of human being.
Mayor Koijee was responding to allegations made against him by the former TRC Chairman, Cllr. Jerome Verdier, linking him(Koijee) to the violent attack against former Chief Justice Gloria Musu Scott, which resulted in the death of her daughter and another being critically injured.
The attack, which occurred on Wednesday, February 22, at the former Chief Justice’s Brewerville’s Residence, outside Monrovia, was the third in a wave of attacks reported by her. The attack on the home of Cllr. Scoutt have been widely condemned by Liberians from all walks of life, with many expressing their sympathy over the death of Charloe Musu and called on the Government of Liberia(GoL) through the Liberia National Police(LNP) to leave no stone unturned in speedily bringing to justice perpetrators of the tear jerking incident so as to serve as deterrence for others who may want to engage into similar sinister act.
In an interview with the media following the tear-jerking incident, Cllr. Scout questioned the motive of her attempted assassination as she mourns her daughter who got killed in the mayhem. ‘‘What did I do, my people what did I do to people that they want my life? Y’all please ask the question Y’all who on my side. What are you people hearing that I did? I don’t want to be President, I don’t want to be Senator or Chairman of any political party here, so why are they after me?,’’ the former Chief Justice of Liberia uttered. FWHAT DRONT SLIDERNEWS
The former Chief Justice currently serves as the Lead Counsel of the Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence’s faction of the opposition Liberty Party(LP), pleading legal cases filed against Senator Lawrence and the others by the party’s Chairman Mr. Musa Hassan Bility. For nearly three years now, the Liberty Party has been involved in controversies following the election of businessman turned-politician, Musa Hassan Bility, who has been accused of allegedly altering the party’s constitution, an allegation Mr. Bility has since rubbished.
The persistent armed robbery attacks on the home of Cllr. Scott would claim her life and the lives of other family members if the government continues to play deaf ears to the need to provide security for her and her immediate family members in the midst of a politically charged terrain and either ongoing or pending high-profile political cases ahead of the elections slated for October of this year. These attacks appear to be intimidation tactics being implored by some perceived political opponents to acquire sensitive legal documents, and discourage or get rid of Cllr. Scott.
While an investigation is ongoing into the heartbreaking incident by the LNP, Cllr. Verdier, who is based in the United States of America, strongly accused Mayor Koijee of orchestrating the incident, claiming that the alleged murderer, Varlee Telleh, who he said is an employee of the Monrovia City Police, was allegedly sent by the Monrovia City Mayor to assassinate Cllr Scout.
Cllr. Verdier further alleged that Varlee was shirtless and barefooted wearing only shorts and holding a knife entered into the house of Cllr Scout to sodomize her before assassinating her, but Cllr Scout managed to escape after spraying Varlee with “pepper spray.”
The former TRC Chairman averred that Varlee serves as Deputy Chief of Operation at the Monrovia City Cooperation (MCC). He asserted that Varlee is a former Anti-Terrorist Unity (ATU) during the reign of former Liberian leader, Charles G Taylor who is currently in a UK prison.
He added that Varlee supposedly stabbed the late Charloe Musu multiple times to death and wounded so many people. Ms. Musu was expected to graduate from Starz University in Monrovia this year, according to family sources.
The LNP has not come out with any report on the alleged link of Varlee in the murder of the late Charloe Musu.
But Major Koijee, who is not taking lightly these latest allegations made against him by Cllr. Verdier, categorically rubbished claims by the Ex-TRC Boss linking him to the murder of little Charloe Musu.
Addressing a press conference on Friday, February 24, 2023 at his City Hall Office in Monrovia, Mayor Koijee asserted that there is no shortcut to the presidency of Liberia, and the accusations by Cllr. Verdier, are just not directed at him but an attempt to undermine and destabilize the Government of Liberia(GoL).
The Monrovia City Mayor then called on the Ministry of Justice to begin a swift and impartial investigation into the murder incident, including accusations by Cllr. Verdier does not only undermine the security of the state by having a sinister motive to push the country into crisis.
“I have absolutely no history of even shedding the blood of a chicken, lest to talk about a human being. Those who are making these unfounded claims are people who think the only shortcut to the Presidency of our country is to malign people like us with falsehood. People like Verdier have spent over the years finding lies to malign me but every time he does, the truth can defeat him,’’ Mr. Koijee, who is also the Secretary General of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change(CDC), accentuated .
‘‘We have consulted our lawyers both at home and abroad to get him to court so he can prove some of those lies and innuendo. Once again, the Justice Minister needs to take this very seriously because it’s becoming a systemic attack on our governance system. We know very well that once you threaten the peace and stability of the U.S, wherever you are the U.S get concerned and I hope they can do the same for Liberia when people like Vedier are using the U.S soil to undermine the peace of a country the U.S has invested a lot,’’ the CDC Chief Scribe pointed out.
‘‘We hope the Foreign Affairs Minister can reach out as well because this borders on the reputation of our country. Especially when Verdier is also accusing the President of the country. A man who has a track record of being the most peaceful character ever to exist in our country,’’ he stated.
Meanwhile, he asked the public to keep Cllr Scott’s family in their prayers as they mourn the loss of a cherished daughter and to stop politicizing the situation
The Monrovia Mayor said he’s not surprised that he’s consistently being attacked as he remains one of the cornerstones of the regime that detractors think they can break since they haven’t been able to do so from the very inception
He revealed he spoke diplomatically as Mayor of the City but the Party will speak follow by his lawyers
He maintained those asking about the City Government and who carries arms within the sector must go and read the act creating the City Government
It can be recalled that this is not the first time Cllr. Vedier had accused Mr. Koijee of murder.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, The Netherlands, sometimes ago, concurred with Liberia’s former Solicitor-General and Chief Prosecutor, Sayma Syrenius Cephus that the court had no jurisdiction over alleged war crimes committed in Liberia prior to the inception of the Rome Statue on July 1, 2002.
The court’s clarification was a slap in the face of Cllr. Verdier of the International Law Group(ILG) who had y written the Court and accused the current Liberian government of heinous human rights abuses, mass murders, rapes and war crimes and subsequently sought the aid of the Court to investigate these crimes and hold individuals allegedly responsible accountable.
In the complaint filed before the Court, Cllr. Verdier singled out Monrovia City Mayor Koijee as a “warlord and perpetrator” of war crimes in Liberia and called on the court to arrest him and have him prosecuted.
But in a strong reaction to the Liberia’s referral written by Cllr. Verdier, Cllr. Cephus indicated that the prosecution of crimes of horrific nature, although fall outside of the inception of the Rome Statute, and therefore, the ICC did not have jurisdiction, notwithstanding, prosecuting the crimes of murder, rape, mayhem and terror committed during the periods cited inter alia, can only be seen and treated within the context of complementarity–a key principle of the ICC statute, which instructs that national prosecutors and national courts should address the most serious international crimes (war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide), where possible, and that the ICC should be viewed as complementarity to such local processes, as a court of ‘last resort.’
The Court then wrote two separate letters to Cllr. Cephus. In first letter dated January 27, 2020, the Court acknowledged receipt of Cllr. Verdier’s Liberia Referral, but informed Cllr. Cephus that the “acknowledgement of letter written by Cllr. Verdier “does not mean an investigation has been opened, nor that an investigation will be opened by the office of the prosecutor.”
Further, in another letter to Cllr. Cephus dated February 25, 2020 by the office of the Prosecutor and signed by Mark P. Dillon, the Court reiterated that it is governed by the Rome Statute “which entrusts the court with a very specific and carefully defined jurisdiction and mandate” and noted that the fundamental feature of the statute is that the court may only exercise jurisdiction over crimes committed after the entry into force of the Rome Statute on July 1, 2002.
This clarification clearly supported Cllr. Cephus’ argument and dismissed Cllr. Verdier’s referral.
The Court then informed the ex-TRC boss that “based on the information currently available, the conduct described in your communication appears to have occurred prior to July 1, 2002. Accordingly, as the matter appears to fall outside of the jurisdiction of the court, the Prosecutor has confirmed that there is not a basis at this time to proceed with further analysis.”
These two communications from the office of the Prosecutor have laid to rest the long held suspicions and fears in many quarters within the Republic of Liberia that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has taken seize of an investigation regarding the commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other forms of heinous crimes allegedly committed during the Liberian civil war by some unrepentant “warlords-cum-politicians”.
In defending the judicial sovereignty of Liberia and the reasons why the ICC needed to be told the truth about events in Liberia from one of their own, Liberia’s Chief Prosecutor Cephus writes: “I, therefore, come to, or assume the prosecution office of my dear country with a huge and self-effacing international reputation and character, backed by more than a decade in years of training, experience and practice, rarely comparable, and perhaps hardly ever seen anywhere in the annals of law practice amongst my legal peers in Liberia.”
He argued that most allegations of war crimes though fall outside of the jurisdiction of the ICC but are driven by political disagreements and are used to intimidate rival politicians.
He said once those who are leading the war crimes and crimes against humanity mantra are supported politically, people no longer hear such allegations, and therefore, informed the Court not to give credence to the “outworn allegations” of war crimes in Liberia.
“ Moreover, I need not to be labooured the issue that the Rome Statute, which created the ICC came into force on 1 July 2002, and the Republic of Liberia, acceded to the treaty on 20 September 2004, with a grace period of sixty days(60) added thereto; thus, the Republic of Liberia officially became an effective ICC member state in November 2004, considering the 60 days rule which is why all alleged crimes committed prior to the date of inception of the treaty, cannot be retroactively tried by the ICC, and to the best of my knowledge at both the two training sessions that I have attended and even now, I have not heard, or to aptly put, there’s no legal precedent in this regards,” Cllr. Cephus further argued.
Cllr. Cephus told the ICC that all alleged criminal events covering 14 April, 1979 and November, 2004 in Liberia fall exclusively within the jurisdiction of Liberian courts, and if the need for prosecution becomes fundamentally imperative now or in the future, the Liberian Government may likely begin a process of determining, with the full involvement of the Ministry of Justice, which crimes are prosecutable, based on the available evidence, and material witnesses as its official policy agenda in fighting the culture of impunity.
In an apparent response to Cllr. Cephus’ observation, the Court wrote: “I hope you will appreciate that with the defined jurisdiction of the court, many serious allegations will be beyond the reach of this institution to address.”
In agreeing with Solicitor General Cephus on the question of the Court being a last resort, the office of the Prosecutor wrote: “I note in this regard that the ICC is designed to complement and not replace the national jurisdictions.”
Meanwhile, the Liberian Former Solicitor General asserted that the Government of President George Manneh Weah has not, and will never shield the alleged perpetrators of war crimes, genocide, aggression and crimes against humanity committed immediately following the commencement of the Rome Statute or in the period after Liberia acceded to the ICC Treaty in November 2004, let alone empowering a city mayor to commit war crimes and other forms of violence.