Former Liberian military leader on trial in US
Publish date: 09 October 2017
Issue Number: 746
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
In Liberia's first civil war he was known as ‘Jungle Jabbah,’ a rebel commander who witnesses said sliced a baby out of a pregnant woman's stomach, killed civilians and ordered his soldiers to rape young girls. However, for the past two decades, Mohammed Jabbateh has lived a quiet life in the US after being granted asylum by the federal government. The 51-year-old went on trial in Philadelphia last week. Prosecutors claim he took part in atrocities during a decade-long civil war in the west African country of Liberia. NBC News reports that he faces two counts of filing false immigration documents and two counts of perjury. Each count comes with up to five years in prison and deportation. He has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors have marshalled several witnesses who in court documents recalled their interactions with Jabbateh when he was a high-ranking member of The United Liberation Movement for Democracy and its splinter faction ULIMO-K, both Liberian rebel groups in the 1990s. A report on the News24 site notes that the case is one of a handful of legal efforts to track down people accused of committing atrocities during the civil wars that began in 1989 and devastated Liberia through most of the 1990s and early 2000s. In 2008, the son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor was convicted in a federal court in Florida for torturing or ordering the torture of dozens of his father's political opponents. The report notes that Charles McArthur Emmanuel, who is better known as Chuckie Taylor, was sentenced to 97 years in prison.