Retired Soldier Slams Sirleaf Gov’t for “Abandoning UCMJ”

first_imgAbout ten years following the ascendency(rise)of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as Commander-In-Chief (-I-C) of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), her government has come under criticism for not fulfilling her promise to introduce the court martial proceedings to prosecute accused enlisted personnel.Retired AFL Colonel Sam Solomon, who served as trial counsel (prosecutor) on previous court-martial boards of the army, described the Sirleaf led government’s action to try military personnel in civilian court as “disrespectful to the accused and absolutely wrong under the law.”“This is very much regrettable, because every constituted government should have a court martial board for its army, purposely to probe allegations against soldiers who have committed offenses in line with the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ),” Atty. Solomon told journalists yesterday at the Temple of Justice. He previously served as City Solicitor at the Monrovia City Court.UCMJ is the congressional code of military criminal law applicable to all military members worldwide.Retired Col. Solomon was part of the board that tried and convicted several former military generals including Minister of National Defense, Major/General Gray D. Allison for treason and other offenses.According to Atty. Solomon, the UCMJ defines the military justice system and lists criminal offenses under military law.“While the military court martial is the most severe sanction under military law, its conviction is the same as a criminal court conviction and can (depending on the offense) result into long term jail sentences with hard labor or a punitive discharge such as dishonorable discharge, as well as fines and reduction in rank,” explained Atty. Solomon.He said the court has jurisdiction over all personnel charged with any UCMJ offense.Article 21 (e) of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia states that, “No person charged, arrested, restricted, detained or otherwise held in confinement shall be subject to torture or inhumane treatment; nor shall any person except military personnel, be kept or confined in any military facility; nor shall any person be seized and kept among convicted prisoners or treated as a convict, unless such person first shall have been convicted of a crime in a court of competent jurisdiction. The Legislature shall make it a criminal offense and provide for appropriate penalties against any police or security officer, prosecutor, administrator or any other public or security officer, prosecutor, administrator or any other public official acting in contravention of this provision; and any person so damaged by the conduct of any such public official shall have a civil remedy, therefore, exclusive of any criminal penalties imposed.”In early April, the Monrovia City Court at the Temple of Justice charged AFL officer Winn K. Gansee of murder and sent him to the Monrovia Central Prison to await trial. The soldier was allegedly arrested for beating a motorcyclist, Nelson Cuput, with a piece of plank. Cuput reportedly died from his wounds.In August 2014, President Sirleaf ordered four soldiers and their commanding officer to be punished for their actions during a protest over Ebola quarantine in the densely populated West Point Community in Monrovia.During that incident, 16 year old Shakie Kamara was shot and later died of his wounds while others were injured.Following the incident, President Sirleaf constituted a disciplinary board which found Lieutenant Aloysius Quaye guilty of conduct unbecoming of an officer and dereliction in the performance of duty. For that, the board recommended punishment including demotion in rank and 30 days in correctional custody.Two soldiers under Quaye’s command were found guilty of assault and arbitrary use of force while another two were convicted of making false statements for which they were remanded to serve 30 days behind bars.But according to Atty. Solomon, it is only the court martial board that is convened to try officers of the AFL for criminal violations under the UCMJ.“The military court is to handle matters under the UCMJ. That is to say, soldiers that commit crimes need to appear before it for prosecution. They have to appear before the court martial board in full military uniform until that case is resolved. But that is not the case anymore,” the retired Colonel maintained.“We have qualified military experts to serve on the board, but probably the Ministry of National Defense chose not to advise the President on the process,” he insinuated.Atty. Solomon said for him to hear that enlisted members of the AFL were confined and dishonorably discharged from the army and taken to a civilian court to be prosecuted by a civilian judge, was an “abuse” to the military and the dignity of the individual soldiers…“The President needs to understand that we are military people, and therefore, matters arising from the soldiers should be taken care of by military people, and we should be heaved before those who are part of the military to be judged, but not before a civilian judge because this is an insult to the organization,” Atty. Solomon declared.“Why should they take all the power of military personnel and disgrace him before a civilian court, rather than giving him the opportunity to be treated with dignity under the UCMJ,” he wondered.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Barkley starts: Croatia vs England preview, team news and live commentary

first_img LATEST Boxing Day fixtures: All nine Premier League games live on talkSPORT gameday cracker SORRY Most read on talkSPORT.com What the managers are sayingZlatko Dalic (Croatia): “The loss to Spain was hard, but it happens. We need to improve the situation against England to correct the impression we left and because of building a team for Euro qualifiers The English have their own problem with players and have a number of new young players in the team. The match will be played with no fans in an un-football like atmosphere but we need to accept that. It gives nobody an advantage. The English are fast, young, ambitious and we will have some difficulties.”Gareth Southgate (England): “Croatia deserved to go through to the final in summer, we have to take our medicine on that, but I have had a couple of conversations with their coach since and we both agree that the more big games you play, the more you learn to handle the pressure so that eventually you will be able to get over the line. We are in a good position now, we don’t have to rip everything up and start again, we have made progress and we want to keep that progress going.” 3 BEST OF Gerrard launches furious touchline outburst as horror tackle on Barisic sparks chaos Where can you listen?Full commentary of Friday’s clash will be available on talkSPORT. Click here for the Croatia vs England live streamConfirmed teamsSouthgate hands the in-form Ross Barkley his first England game since 2016, while Leicester left-back Ben Chilwell makes his full Three Lions debut.It’s a positive England line-up which sees Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling all start.Meanwhile, the likes of Dejan Lovren, Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic, who played in the World Cup tie, all start for the hosts.Croatia: Livakovic, Jedvaj, Lovren, Vida, Pivaric, Kovacic, Rakitic, Kramaric, Modric, Perisic, RebicSubs: Bartolec, Milic, Mitrovic, Rog, Sluga, Livaja, Bradaric, Pasalic, Santini, Badelj, PjacaEngland: Pickford, Walker, Chilwell, Dier, Stones, Maguire, Barkley, Henderson, Kane, Sterling, RashfordSubs: Trippier, Butland, Alexander-Arnold, Dunk, Gomez, Winks, Chalobah, Maddison, Mount, Bettinelli, Sancho How Everton could look in January under Ancelotti with new signings predicted Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Ndidi bid, targets named, Ozil is ‘skiving little git’ Liverpool news live: Klopp reveals when Minamino will play and issues injury update England will be looking to get their revenge on their World Cup vanquishers when they visit Croatia in their UEFA Nations League group match on Friday evening.Gareth Southgate’s side’s Russia campaign was ended with a heart-breaking 2-1 defeat to Zlatko Dalic’s men before they went on to lose to France in the World Cup final. Southgate comes up against Dalic, who bested him in Russia The average first-team salaries at every Premier League club in 2019 revealed 3 tense Sky Sports presenter apologises for remarks made during Neville’s racism discussion 3 scrap Mario Mandzukic struck the decisive blow to knock England out the World Cup Every time Ally McCoist lost it on air in 2019, including funny XI reactions Green reveals how he confronted Sarri after Chelsea’s 6-0 defeat at Man City Croatia remain without a win since that fateful night in Moscow, drawing with Portugal in a friendly then being thrashed 6-0 by Spain in their Nations League opener.England also lost their first match in UEFA’s new competition to La Roja, falling to a 2-1 defeat at Wembley three days before Spain’s 6-0 rout of Croatia, but they recovered to secure a victory over Switzerland in a friendly at the King Power Stadium in Leicester.Both England and Croatia will be going for their first win in the new Nations League format, though they will have to cope with playing the match behind closed doors; no fans will be allowed into the Stadion HNK Rijeka due to a punishment handed to Croatia after a swastika was marked onto the pitch before their Euro 2016 qualifier against Italy, played back in 2015. changes latest Guardiola-inspired tactics: Is this how Arsenal will line up under Arteta? Kane starts despite being rested in traininglast_img read more