Zimbabwe: public hearing for Death Penalty Abolition Bill

Reportedly, there are 62 murderers on the death row in Zimbabwe. If the Death Abolition Bill will be passed, their death penalty will be commuted to life in prison.

Among those who will benefit from the proposed abolishment of the death penalty are the two convicted killers of a 7-year old boy, Tapiwa Makore, who was murdered for ritualistic purposes in 2020, a ritual murder which upset the entire nation. The boy was murdered by one of his uncles, Tapiwa Makore (60), and an accomplice, Tafadzwa Shamba (4), who were found guilty of the brutal murder and sentenced to death in 2023.

Last month Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s declared an amnesty by announcing his decision to commute the death sentences of prisoners at Zimbabwe’s maximum prisons to life imprisonment.

The last time that the death penalty was executed in Zimbabwe was in 2005.
(FVDK)

Public hearing dates set for Death Penalty Abolition Bill, week after Mnangagwa “saves” prisoners on roll

Published: May 3, 2024
By: Leopold Muntende

ZIMBABWEANS will, between May 6 and 10, be given an opportunity to share their views on the Death Penalty Abolition Bill in public hearings to be held across the country’s ten provinces.

Although independent of his decision, the hearings follow President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s recent decision to commute the death sentences of prisoners at Zimbabwe’s maximum prisons to life imprisonment in an amnesty announced last month.

According to the government, 62 people were on death row.

In February, Cabinet approved the principles to the Death Penalty Abolition Bill that seek to abolish capital punishment.

Committee on Human Rights have jointly announced a series of public hearings to discuss the death penalty,” said Parliament.

“These hearings aim to engage stakeholders, gather perspectives and guide potential legal reforms regarding three Bills currently before Parliament.”

Although Zimbabwe’s last execution was in 2005, the death sentence has, however, continued to be passed.

The Zimbabwean constitution allows for imposition of the death penalty in cases involving murder committed under aggravating circumstances and only on men between 21 and 70 years of age.

Cabinet’s decision to approve the principles of the Bill provoked discussions online with some arguing capital punishment must be maintained while citing cases such as that of Tapiwa Makore (7) whose head was hacked off by his uncle (Tapiwa Makore Snr) in a ritual killing that shocked the country in 2020.

Human rights organisations such as Amnesty International however declared the move progressive: “Zimbabwe has taken the right step towards ending this abhorrent and inhuman form of punishment that has no place in our world.”

The public hearings will also discuss the Criminal Law Amendment (Protection of Children and Young Persons) Bill “which aims to bring the law on sexual offences against minors into line with the Constitution” and the Administration of Estates Amendment Bill, “which seeks to restructure the office of the Master of the High Court.”

The schedule is copied below;

Team A:

  • Dates: From May 6 to May 10, 2024
  • Locations:

May 6, 2024: Kadoma Rimuka Hall

May 7, 2024: Gweru Mkoba Hall

May 8, 2024: Bulawayo Selborne Hotel

May 9, 2024: Lupane Community Hall

May 10, 2024: Filabusi Avoka

Team B:

  • Locations:

May 6, 2924: Tendai Hall, Bindura

May 7, 2024: Stodart Hall, Mbare

May 8, 2024: Mbuya Nehanda Hall, Marondera

May 9, 2024: Dangamvura Beit Hall

May 10, 2024: Masvingo Civic Center Hall, Masvingo

  • Time: All meetings start at 10:00 AM

Source: Public hearing dates set for Death Penalty Abolition Bill, week after Mnangagwa “saves” prisoners on roll

The plight of people with albinism in Zambia – a cry for protection and assistance

Zambia’s Eastern Province is notoriously known for its ritualistic murders. Allegedly, the country’s Eastern Province records the highest number of ritualistic murder cases.

I’ve posted earlier on the plight of people with albinism in Zambia and the attacks on and murder of innocent people in this remote province of Zambia. In 2019, within a short period of time, two murder cases were reported. In March the following year, another gruesome murder was committed in the Eastern Province. In Chipata, the mutilated body of the albino victim was discovered with tongue, eyes and arms missing. The Executive Director of the National Albinism Initiative Network of Zambia, Ruth Zulu, deplored the stigmatization, discrimination and murder of people and published a plea for a legal framework to address this nationwide problem. In vain. The murders continued as the article below painfully demonstrates.

Katerina Mildnerova, a Czech social and cultural anthropologist, and Antonio Costa, an independent photojournalist originally from Mozambique, are to be commended for their initiative.
Read more about their cry for help and protection of people living with albinism in Zambia below.
(FVDK)

The plight of people with albinism in Zambia – a cry for protection and assistance

Published: May 10, 2024
By: Znesnáze – Olomouc / Organizer: Nadační fond pomoci

In the middle of the night, there was a pounding on the door. “Open up, Zambian police!” I see four masked men. They broke into the house where I was sleeping with my children. They pointed guns at me and threatened me, “If you scream, we’ll kill you.” Two of them dragged me behind the house and held a gun to my head. Then I heard a terrible scream. “Mommy, mommy, they chopped my sister’s arm!” My son sobbed with tears. At that moment, those two men threw me to the ground and started to run away. I came into the room and saw my daughter in a pool of blood…” 

The brutal attack on little Jemimah took place in June 2021 in the Northern Province of Zambia. The two-year-old girl lost her right arm, which was chopped off by unknown attackers with a machete. This case has not yet been investigated by the Zambian police and none of the attackers have been persecuted and sentenced. Jamimah lives with other children with albinism in an orphanage in the capital Lusaka. In the same year two other nine-year-old boys were ritually attacked and mutilated. One lost his right arm, the other his fingers. 

These stories are just some of the many we encountered during our research in 2023. 

Since 2015, Zambia has faced an increasing number of abductions, mutilations and ritual killings of people with albinism, in most cases defenceless children. Their body parts are used for making magical objects that are supposed to provide their owners with wealth, power or prestige. While these murders are most often committed by family members of the victims while still in Zambia, body parts are smuggled through organised crime networks into neighbouring countries – Malawi, Tanzania and Mozambique. The largest number of ritual killings of albinos occur in the Eastern Province, the poorest region of Zambia. The victims of the attacks, if they manage to escape, continue to live in permanent fear for their lives, as the perpetrators are not prosecuted in the vast majority of cases. After an attack, children are placed in state orphanages, where they receive temporary protection, they are removed from their natural family environment and have to cut off contact with their parents and siblings. 

In addition to the threat to their safety, people with albinism face enormous health risks due to the lack of medication and protective equipment. Skin and eye cancer is the most common cause of their premature deaths. Albinos in Zambia live to an average age of only 40 years, 22 years less than the national average.

Most affected families live at or below the extreme poverty line. They cannot afford to provide education for their children because safety and health care must understandably take priority. Families lack the means to afford school supplies, school uniforms or even just the dioptric glasses necessary for reading and writing at school. Yet education is the ticket to a better future, without the daily fear for one’s survival. In Zambia, there is a belief that a child with albinism is the result of infidelity and the source of a family curse, which unfortunately often leads to the mother and child being abandoned by the father and the wider family. A single mother‘s status is inevitably linked to a life of poverty and it is very difficult for her to break this vicious cycle.

FUNDRAISING

Fundraising is ongoing via the crowdfunding platform Znesnaze21 from May to September 2024. It is aimed at purchasing direct material assistance for the most vulnerable families living below the extreme poverty line in the Eastern Province of Zambia (single mothers, children, victims of ritual attacks). The purchase and transportation of the material aid will be arranged by the organizer of the fundraiser in collaboration with the Butterfly Foundation of Zambia – a non-profit organization that has assisted the most adversely affected families with albinism in the Eastern Province of Zambia since 2017.

Our assistance targets three main areas: 

Security. Ensuring the protection of homes – security locks on doors, window bars and fencing 

Health. Prevention of skin cancer – sunscreen factor 50+, sunglasses, hats

Education. Basic school supplies – notebooks, stationery, uniforms and dioptric glasses

ABOUT THE BORN DIFFERENT PROJECT

Born Different is a project by the Czech anthropologist Katerina Mildnerova and the Mozambican photojournalist Antonio Cossa under the auspices of Palacky University in Olomouc. It is based on the creative linking of art and science, cultural anthropology and photography and draws on a series of team fieldworks in Zambia and Benin (2023-2024). It includes a travelling photographic exhibition, lectures and forthcoming popular science book.

Our primary aim is to raise public awareness about injustice, discrimination and human rights violations against people with albinism in Africa, particularly in Zambia. We want to stimulate a discussion about protecting the lives and rights of people with albinism in order to stop the violence and ritual killings that happen every day and which do not receive adequate attention. We are also endeavouring to help to improve their extremely difficult living conditions through public charitable fundraising efforts.

For more information, visit our website at www.borndifferent.upol.cz

(available from 17. 5. 2024)

ABOUT THE ORGANIZER

Katerina Mildnerova is Czech social and cultural anthropologist specializing in sub-Saharan Africa. She holds a PhD in ethnology from the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen. Since 2015 she has been working as a researcher and assistant professor at the Department of Sociology, Andragogy and Cultural Anthropology at Palacky University Olomouc. Since 2019 she is the president of the Czech Association of African Studies. She has conducted dozens of field researches in Zambia, Benin and Namibia and has lectured at several universities in Africa and Europe. She specializes in religious anthropology and medical anthropology. She is the author of dozens of academic articles and book chapters and five monographs of her own. She is co-author of the documentary film Black Czechs (2022) and founder of non-governmental organization Association for Support of Namibian Czechs. She is currently working on the project Born different with Antonio Cossa.

ANTONIO COSSA

An independent photojournalist originally from Mozambique, based in Prague. He has worked as a documentary photographer since 2004, collaborating with institutions such as the British Council and UNICEF. He has had a rich professional career focusing on war, refugee crisis and social issues. His work specializes in war conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, the refugee crisis on the Greek-Turkish border, documenting the situation of the Rohingya in Bangladesh and the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, he has been officially accredited by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence as a war photojournalist. In recent years he has also photographed climate refugees in Mozambique after Cyclone Idai. His latest project focuses on albino survivors of ritual attacks in Zambia. He is also a portrait photographer and has photographed many of the world’s most famous people, including Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Vaclav Havel, 

His portfolio includes dozens of exhibitions around the world, lectures and workshops for students and the general public. Antonio Cossa is also a founder of the non-governmental organization Frontline Care whose main objective is to support victims of climate change and war refugees.

Source: ASSISTANCE TO PEOPLE WITH ALBINISM IN ZAMBIA!

Uganda: can increase in ritual murders be stopped by harsher punishment for murderers?

Perhaps it is time to debate whether there are situations that require the death penalty” – says Miriam Wangadya, chairperson Human Rights Commission Uganda.

The chairperson of the Human Rights Commission Uganda, Miriam Wangadya, is devastated and despairing. The gruesome ritualistic killing of innocent victims often young children is heartbreaking, she says. The mutilated bodies found are disgusting witnesses of a violent death.

She cites a number of well-known recent ritual murder cases including the ritual murder of a four-year old girl in Jinja district in 2021 and the ritualistic murder of two young girls, sisters, by their mother, also in Jinja district in 2023. Statistics release by Uganda National Police indicate that ritualistic sacrifices are on a steady increase from 22 cases in 2019, to 45 in 2020, to 46 in 2021 and 72 in 2022.

The chair of the Human Rights Commission Uganda makes a plea for harsher punishment.

Since Uganda observes a moratorium on the death penalty she suggests to have a national debate whether indeed there are situations which require the death penalty. The law must take its full force, she argues, and murderers who kill innocent and helpless children deserve the capital punishment. Punishment should match the crime. A stern message is to be sent out that murder in al its forms is totally unacceptable and is met with the strongest deterrent, she insists.

But will the capital punishment, ‘an eye for an eye’, really act as a deterrent for the greedy and ruthless criminals who are willing to sacrifice the life of a human being for more money, power, or prestige?
(FVDK)

Murderers of innocent children deserve harsher punishment

Published: April 9, 2024
By: New Vision, Uganda

Source: Murderers of innocent children deserve harsher punishment

Anambra State, Nigeria: widow initially banished over alleged witchcraft gets new apartment

This post is about harmful widowhood practices and belief in witchcraft. It’s not about a ritual murder.

It all happened in Umunankwo, a village in the Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State, in south-east Nigeria. The story goes back to April last year, when three brothers chased and banished their widowed sister, a 53-year old mother of two children, from the community accusing her of being a witch. The incident was filmed and went viral. Subsequently, the three men were arrested. For briefness sake I may refer to the second and third articles below.

The incident drew once more attention to existing harmful widowhood practices and the plight of women in Anambra State in general.

Moreover, also in Anambra State the belief in the power of supernatural forces exist, though it is unknown at which scale. Related superstitious practices may go hand-in-hand with ritualistic killings (‘money rituals’) and trafficking in human organs which unfortunately also occur in this state in South-East Nigeria. See my February 19, 2023 post ‘Anambra State Police Officers in alleged ritual killing, organ harvesting ring arrested‘. 

Anambra State is located in the South East geopolitical zone of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Federal Republic of Nigeria is divided into six geopolitical zones commonly called zones. 

Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones

Anambra State is an inland state and one of Nigeria’s smallest states with a surface area of only 4,844 km2 (only Lagos State is smaller). Anambra ranks number 14 by population with an estimated population of 8 – 10 million people (2024), most of them christians though traditional beliefs continue to exist. The majority of the population belong to the Igbo ethnic group (in the 1960s, Anambra State was part of the failed secessionist Republic of Biafra). The region nowadays known as Anambra State has a a rich cultural history.

I already mentioned a prime reason to post this item, the existence of harmful widowhood practices, another major reason is the wish to draw attention to local initiatives and organizations to end these outdated and cruel practices which in fact represent human rights violations.

In this context I wish to mention the commendable work of the organization Advocacy for Alleged Witches, an interventionist group leading campaigns to end witch persecution in Africa. The organization’s Director is the well-known Leo Igbe, more than once mentioned on the present site. His work cannot be overrated and I wish to congratulate him once more with his work and achievements.

Last but not least I wish to congratulate Genevieve Osakwe, the Magistrate of the Children, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Court, in Awka, the state capital, and the Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare in the state, Ify Obinabo, for their swift actions.

Thanks to them the perpetrators of the crime are being prosecuted and the victim, Nneka Uzor, can now start a new life in a new apartment.
(webmaster FVDK)

Anambra State, Nigeria: widow initially banished over alleged witchcraft gets new apartment

The widow, Nneka Uzor, a 54-year-old mother of two, was banished by her three brothers from Umunankwo Community in Ogbaru Local Government Area of the south-east state on 30 April 2023.

Map of Anambra State

Published: February 25, 2024
By: Chinagorom Ugwu – Premium Times Nigeria

A widow in Anambra State, who recently returned to her community after she was banished for allegedly being a witch, has gotten a new apartment.

The woman, Nneka Uzor, a 54-year-old mother of two, was banished by her three brothers from Umunankwo Community in Ogbaru Local Government Area of the south-east state on 30 April 2023.

PREMIUM TIMES, last year, reported (see below – webmaster FVDK) how the widow was spotted in a video clip being led out of the Umunankwo by the community members who hurled abuses at her while two masquerades flogged her.

The three brothers —- Lazarus Uzor, Anozie Uzor and Valentine Okwuosa —- were later arrested and arraigned before the Children, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Court in Awka.

The arrest and arraignment of the suspects were facilitated by the Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare in the state, Ify Obinabo, who promised to ensure that the woman was reunited with the community.

This newspaper also reported that Mrs Uzor, the banished widow, returned to the community in January and reconciled with the villagers, following the commissioner’s intervention and the traditional ruler of the community, Fidelis Nsofor.

New apartment

Mrs Uzor has now gotten a self-contained apartment through the assistance of Advocacy for Alleged Witches, an interventionist group leading campaigns to end witch persecution in Africa.

The Director of the group, Leo Igwe, told PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday that the group decided to help Mrs Uzor after they learnt that the widow had been staying with a relative after her return to the community.

“We found out that while she returned to the community, she had no money, no apartment; her business had collapsed. Nothing. She was almost displaced,” Mr Igwe said, recalling that the widow also made the request when the group reached out to her.

“So, we raised some money and we sent it to her to rent an apartment,” he said.

The group director commended PREMIUM TIMES, saying it was the paper’s report that made them aware of the widow’s travail.

Joy overflow

Mrs Uzor expressed joy while she shared a video clip of the new apartment with the group director.

“You people have met me in my point of need,” she said in the three-minute video clip, almost shedding tears of joy.

“This is wonderful,” the widow exclaimed as she showed the inner part of the apartment.

“So, at last, I can boast of saying this is my own.”

She asked God to bless members of the group who secured the apartment for her.

Source: Widow initially banished over alleged witchcraft gets new apartment

Related:

Widow banished over alleged witchcraft returns to community

The woman, a 54-year-old mother of two, was banished by her three brothers from Umunankwo Community in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State.

Published: January 23, 2024
By: Chinagorom Ugwu – Premium Times Nigeria

A widow in Anambra State, who was banished for allegedly being a witch, has been reunited with her community.

The woman, Nneka Uzor, a 54-year-old mother of two, was banished by her three brothers from Umunankwo Community in Ogbaru Local Government Area of the south-east state on 30 April 2023.

PREMIUM TIMES, last year, reported how the widow was spotted in a video clip being led out of the Umunankwo by the community members who hurled abuses at her while two masquerades flogged her.

In the clip, the people, who were heard accusing Mrs Uzor of poisoning the community’s food and refusing to go for appeasement, led the woman to a road junction where they pronounced her banished from the community.

At the time they pronounced her banished, the widow had collapsed in the middle of a road, apparently due to fatigue.

The three brothers – Lazarus Uzor, Anozie Uzor and Valentine Okwuosa – were later arrested and arraigned before the Children, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Court in Awka.

The arrest and arraignment of the suspects were facilitated by the Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare in the state, Ify Obinabo, who promised to ensure that the woman was reunited with the community.

Reunion

Mrs Uzor, the banished widow, has been reconciled to the villagers and brought back to the community, according to a statement on Monday by Chidinma Ikeanyionwu, a media aide to the commissioner.

Ms Ikeanyionwu said the reconciliation took place at the palace of the traditional ruler of Umunankwo, Fidelis Nsofor.

She said the commissioner, heads of men and women groups in the community, community leaders and the suspects, among others, attended the event.

The statement indicated that following the traditional ruler’s directive, community members gathered at the junction, where they had earlier banished the widow, to bring her back.

Masquerades also accompanied her back to the community.

Source: Widow banished over alleged witchcraft returns to community

This is how it started:

Brothers label their widowed sister witch, banish her from community

The victim is a mother of two .

Published: May 22, 2023
By; Chinagorom Ugwu – Premium Times Nigeria

Three people have banished their widowed sister from their community for allegedly being a witch.

The incident happened on 30 April in Umunankwo, a community in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State, south-east Nigeria.

Chidinma Ikeanyionwu, a media aide to the Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare in the state, Ify Obinabo, disclosed this in a statement on Monday.

The widow, Nneka Uzor is a 53-year-old mother of two. She is also a caterer.

Ms Ikeanyionwu gave the names of the suspects as Lazarus Uzor, Anozie Uzor and Valentine Okwuosa.

She said the suspects’ arrest was facilitated by the commissioner, Mrs Obinabo, after a video clip showing the widow being abused and banished from the community went viral on social media.

Viral video

In the clip, seen by PREMIUM TIMES earlier this month, the widow was spotted being led out of the community by members of the community and two masquerades.

As she walked, the community members hurled abuses on her, while the two masquerades flogged her.

“On this day, Nneka (Uzor) committed an atrocity. She poisoned the food of the community, and she refused to go for appeasement. On that purpose, masquerades have arisen to say a final goodbye to Nneka to the boundary of no return,” a voice was in the background of the video was heard saying.

“Nneka, you shall not come back again (to the community). You have been ostracised. Today, marks her last day (in the community). The masquerade has ostracised her,” the voice added.

Apparently exhausted and weak, the widow collapsed in the middle of a road and the people abandoned her there.

Arraignment

Ms Ikeanyionwu said the suspects were later arrested and arraigned before the Children, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Court, in Awka.

The statement was silent on the details of the charges against the suspects.

When the charges were read and interpreted to the defendants, they pleaded not guilty of the charges, she said.

Ruling on bail application by the suspects, the Magistrate, Genevieve Osakwe, held that the matter was a bailable offence.

Ms Osakwe, consequently, granted them bail in the sum of N700, 000, but demanded that the suspects should provide the traditional ruler of the Umunankwo Community, the parish priest of the community’s Catholic Church or the president-general of the community as sureties.

In her reaction, the commissioner, Mrs Obinabo, expressed satisfaction with the decision of the court, Ms Ikeanyionwu said.

The commissioner assured that she would get justice for the widow and other widows in the state who are going through such ill-treatment.

She warned residents of the state to desist from any form of harmful traditional practices against widows, pointing out that Anambra State Government has zero tolerance for such “inhumane acts.”

Banished widow speaks

Mrs Uzor told the commissioner that she began living in her parents’ house in the community nine years ago after she lost her husband.

The widow regretted that her brothers and other family members had been abusing her since she began living with them in their parents’ house.

On the issue of being banished from the community, she narrated that someone had died in the community and that on the day of the person’s burial, she was invited like others, which made her pass a night there.

She said she was surprised that her brothers and other family members woke her up the next morning at about 5:30 a.m. with the masquerades and subsequently chased her out of the community.

Nkiru Uzor, a sister to the widow, alleged that it was one of the suspects, Lazarus, the immediate past president-general of the community, that instigated the banishment while Nnamdi, another suspect, coordinated the act and also filmed the incident.

Source: Brothers label their widowed sister witch, banish her from community

READ ALSO: Anambra women protest against harmful widowhood practices

Nigeria – a questionable practice: Police parade suspected ritualists in Oyo State

A weird story from Oyo state, in Nigeria’s South West. The Oyo State Police arrested two men who were in the possession of a freshly cut human head. One of the suspected ritualists admitted that the human skull was to be used for ritual purposes (‘money rituals’).

Oyo State is located in the South West geopolitical zone of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Federal Republic of Nigeria is divided into six geopolitical zones commonly called zones. 

Oyo State is an inland state and Nigeria’s sixth most populous state (after Kano, Lagos, Katsina, Kaduna and Bauchi states) with an estimated 9 to 10 million people (2024) and ranks 14 by surface area with 28,454 km2

Ibadan is Oyo State’s capital and its most populous city, and Nigeria’s third (after Lagos and Kano). It’s population is estimated at close to 4 million people whereas in its metropolitan area an estimated 6 million people live, mainly Yoruba but also Igbo, Hausa, Edo and Ibibio from other parts of Nigeria. 

The practice of parading suspects of a serious crime is common in Nigeria, but considered unconstitutional by a number of legal experts. I have added a 2016 article elaborating on this view, following the first article below.
(FVDK)

Police parade suspected ritualists in Oyo State

Suspected cultists
(not related to the article)

Published: February 14 or 15, 2024
By: TVC News

The Oyo state police command has arrested two suspects who specialize in using Human Head and other vital Organs for Ritual Purpose.

The suspects were arrested in Saki town, and a human skull was recovered from them.

While addressing newsmen during the parade, the police spokesperson in Oyo state Adewale Osifeso revealed that the human Head was cut off from a freshly exhumed Corpse and a local pot containing some concoctions were recovered from the possession of the suspected Ritualists.

One of the suspects confessed that the harvested Human Skull was from a corpse at burial ground and was to be used for Money Rituals.

Source: Police Parade Suspected Ritualists, Killers Of Retired PS In Oyo

Read also:

Lawyers say parading of suspects unconstitutional

Published: August 28, 2016
By: Vanguard, Nigeria

Some Lagos-based lawyers have condemned parading of arrested suspects by the police, saying it is unconstitutional and damaging to the person involved.

They said that often those paraded were innocent and in the event of their being pronounced innocent by the courts of competent jurisdiction, the police never re-parade them.

Mr Olawale Apanisile, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that parading suspects undergoing investigation was illegal and could not be justified.

Apanisile said that parading suspects before the public and media as criminals was damaging to the reputation and personality of the individual.

He said that it was a violation of Section 34 (1) and 36 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.

According to Apanisile, Section 34 states that every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person and (1) (a) no person shall be subject to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment.

“In a bid to show to the public that the police are working and are up to the task of safeguarding the country, they display suspects like medals and trophies to the media,’’ he said.

The lawyer said that during arrest, investigation and arraignment, the accused should be treated with respect as they were presumed innocent until proven guilty.

“The police and other law enforcement agents should treat an accused the same way they will treat any other law abiding citizens.

“Most Nigerians do not know their fundamental human rights, but if the police had been slammed with law suits by paraded suspects, then such impunity will not be the order of day.

“Some who know their rights are too scared to press charges,’’ he said.

He urged human rights activists to educate and come to the aid of the populace to put an end to the practice of media trial by the police.

“This practice must stop no matter how grievous the crime an accused committed.

“We should leave it to the courts to administer justice so that after the accused has been acquitted or convicted he can go back to living his life in peace,’’ he said.

Apanisile, however, said that the only time the law allowed for an accused to be paraded was during identification parade.

According to him, in identification parade, an accused will be placed with people who have similar physical appearance with him and paraded before witnesses to know if they will recognise the suspect.

“The parading of suspects before newsmen is not obtainable in Britain but in America, they do perpetrators walk commonly known as `perp walk’.

“In Britain, accused are brought to court in vehicle with tinted glasses which makes it impossible for the public to see them,’’ he said.

According to Wikipedia, perp walk is a common custom of American law enforcement, the practice of taking an arrested suspect through a public place at some point after arrest, creating an opportunity for the media to take photographs and video of the event.

Mr Chris Okani, urged the Nigerian police to stop the parade of suspected armed robbers and other alleged criminals before the public prior to arraignment.
Okani said that parading suspects by the police prior to charging them to court for trial and being found guilty was an aberration.

He also noted that a suspect was presumed innocent until proven otherwise by a court of law after full trial.

He said the police was only permitted to parade suspects if there was need for identification of the suspect by a witness who claims to have seen the suspect commit the alleged offence.

Mr Alozie Nwoke said: “The police are usually under pressure to clean up their image before the public and the Federal Government has given rise to this kind of practice.

“Owing to the pressure, suspects are often paraded so as to show that the police are working.

“The police then get some kind of approval that they are doing well but most times they parade innocent persons.

“Our law provides that every suspect is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction’’.

The legal practitioners decried the act, saying that should the suspects be acquitted, the police would not re-parade them as being innocent.

Source: Lawyers say parading of suspects unconstitutional

‘Nigerian Government must act against ritual killings, organ harvesting’

The following article contains a cry for justice, a cry for freedom from fear, and a plea for an end to the cruel practices of ritualistic murders and associated organ harvesting that kill people in Nigeria on a daily basis. The author of the original article, Fatima Abba Sanda, works at the Department of Mass Communication, University of Maiduguri, in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno State.

‘The government of president Tinubu must act!’
(webmaster FVDK)

Govt Must Act Against Ritual Killings, Organ Harvesting

The end-of-year period in Nigeria is a time everyone looks forward to as a holiday; it is also one of the most dangerous times as…

Publsihed: January 7, 2024
By: Fatima Abba Sanda – Daily Trust, Nigeria

The end-of-year period in Nigeria is a time everyone looks forward to as a holiday; it is also one of the most dangerous times as disturbing activities in the forms of ritual killings and human organ harvesting become the biggest issues Nigerians have to face. Every day numerous lives are lost to these terrible circumstances, and it saddens the heart to know that there is little or nothing done to salvage this issue.

Travellers are always threatened as our highways are death traps. If it is not armed robbers, it is terrorists, and if it is not terrorists, it is kidnappers and ritualists. Even with the presence of police at checkpoints on these highways, these occurrences have sadly become the news headlines almost every day. 

This is a time when consistently if you check the news it’s always about corpses found in one ditch or the other, or it is corpses missing in the mortuary. You can’t help but wonder where it all went wrong and what the authorities are doing to curb this menace.

Nigeria has been plagued with this devilish and unholy act of people or groups of people who kidnap and slaughter human beings in cold blood, and to top it all on this barbaric behavior, they still go ahead and dissect these persons like animals.  

Sometimes you wonder if these people don’t have an ounce of sympathy or humanity. The urge to get rich quickly in Nigeria has left some of its youths to go into such a criminal lifestyle and kidnapping people just for the sole purpose of harvesting their internal and genital organs just to sell to the highest bidder or for ritual. 

Recently, there was a video circulating on the internet of some men killing and slaughtering people like animals and removing their organs. The lack of fear and the pride they had in displaying those barbaric acts while chanting songs praising each other was so disturbing. You can only wonder how these people are never traced and given the full wrath of the law. In this video, it was clearly shown how almost four fully grown adults were cut.

Enough is enough! 

Fatima Abba Sanda wrote from the Department of Mass Communication, University of Maiduguri, Borno State

Source: Govt Must Act Against Ritual Killings, Organ Harvesting

Nigeria: Ritualists threaten popular broadcaster Olayinka Joel Ayefele over airing activities on radio

On more than one occasion I stated here on this site that the worst African country in terms of the occurrence of ritualistic murders and related activities – labelled ‘money rituals’ in this country, Africa’s most populated country – is Nigeria, West Africa. The number of ritualistic killings in Nigeria, often committed by so-called Yahoo Yahoo boys, is sky-high and often I even find it difficult to keep pace with the number of reported ‘money rituals’.

Recently, a popular broadcaster, Olayinka Joel Ayefele, interviewed the survivor of a recent kidnapping that occurred in Ibadan, Oyo State. After the broadcast he received threats from an unknown person cautioning him to refrain from discussing the activities of ritualists and kidnappers on air.

Of course, there is no way to give in to threats from criminals. Freedom of the media or freedom of the press as well as the freedom of speech – and the freedom from fear – are fundamental human rights. Every individual and state actor should vigorously defend these rights.

Read the full story below.
(Webmaster FVDK)

EXCLUSIVE : Ritualists threaten popular broadcaster Olayinka Joel Ayefele over airing activities on radio

Published: December 15, 2023
By: Daud Olatunji, Abeokuta – Platform Times, Nigeria

In a chilling revelation, Nigerian music producer, gospel singer, and radio presenter, Olayinka Joel Ayefele, has come forward with a spine-tingling encounter with suspected ritualists and kidnappers.

 Ayefele, who hosts the popular radio programme “Oriyomi,” disclosed that he received a warning from an unknown number, cautioning him to refrain from discussing the activities of ritualists and kidnappers on air.

The incident unfolded during Ayefele’s Sunday evening programme, where he featured a survivor of a recent kidnapping that occurred in Ibadan. 

The victim, who mysteriously escaped from the clutches of ritualists, shared his harrowing experience of being kidnapped in Ibadan and later found in Ijebu-Ode.

The musician expressed concern for the victims of ritual killings, emphasizing that those who came on air during his program were there to thank God for their safety and survival.

Ayefele, undeterred by the threats, asserted, “I am concerned about the victims that have gone missing. God help us.”

The situation escalated when Ayefele’s personal assistant, Peter, revealed that he had been receiving threat messages for days. The use of private numbers to convey the warnings left Ayefele and his team deeply unsettled.

PLATFORM TIMES observed that the  use of private numbers to convey the warnings left Ayefele and his team deeply unsettled the musician.

Ayefele recounted, “a  few weeks ago, during a broadcast in Ibadan, I made statements and received a call warning me, ‘Mr. Ayefele, you are a musician; focus on your music. 

“What concerns do you have about kidnappers?’ I responded, explaining that survivors came to express gratitude. They insisted I focus on my music and broadcasting.”

“When questioned about my concern for ritual killing victims, they asked if they were my family. I clarified they were not, and the warning came through a private number, causing fear.

” I immediately contacted Peter, my Personal Assistant, who confirmed receiving threat messages for days and said he wanted  me to hear  the warning directly.”

“Aired testimonies were from those thanking God for safety. My primary concern lies with the missing victims. God help us in this distressing situation.”

Source: EXCLUSIVE : Ritualists Threaten Broadcaster Over Airing Activities On Radio

Liberia: man narrowly escapes attempted ritualistic murder – suspected link with forthcoming elections (October 10)

Warning: the following story’s graphic content and photo may upset the reader.

One of Liberia’s best and most reliable newspapers, FrontPageAfrica, yesterday published a harrowing and scaring report on an attempted kidnapping, presumably for ritualistic purposes. It all happened in Paynesville, Greater Monrovia, Montserrado County, around 3:00 a.m. last Thursday, September 21.

When hearing or reading about alleged or attempted ritualistic murders I am always wary of the danger of jumping too soon to conclusions. But certain details of the story which the aimed victim Sherman Cooper tells us are very realistic: the black, unmarked car, a Nissan Pathfinder, the way he managed to escape from his agressors, as observed by an eyewitness, and above all his wounds, the cutting marks around his neck and another on his genitals. Moreover, and the author of the article, Lennart Dodoo, also mentions this explicitly, it is election time in Liberia: ‘Ritualistic killings during elections are not a new phenomenon in Liberia.’

Last week I put the spotlight on Dr. Alan White’s testimony before a subcommittee of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives when the former Chief Investigator of the Special Court for Sierra Leone focused on the frequency of ritual murders in Liberia and the alleged link with the Weah Administration, notably the Office of the President.

It sounds unreal, in the 21st century, but we cannot close our eyes for the at times brutal reality. Investigations into real or alleged ritual killings very often fizzle out in Liberia, reportedly because of the alleged, suspected or real involvement of ‘big shots’ (politicians, high-ranking government officials or other highly-placed Liberians) – similar to investigations into alleged or real corruption.

We’ll see whether we ever hear more about this case…
(webmaster FVDK)

Liberia: Man Narrowly Escapes Attempted Ritualistic Murder; Brother Abducted by Kidnappers, Still Missing

Published: September 27, 2023
By: Lennart Dodoo – FrontPageAfrica, Liberia

MONROVIA – Saved by an act of bravery but severely wounded, Sherman Cooper, a victim of an alleged kidnapping and attempted ritualistic killing, now wonders about the whereabouts of his brother, Michael, whom the alleged kidnappers escaped with.

Sherman jumped out of the black, unmarked speeding Nissan Pathfinder, which had given him and his brother a lift from Paynesville, near the Fabulous opposite Bethesda.

FrontPageAfrica has confirmed that Sherman is currently receiving medical attention at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center’s trauma unit.

Some residents of the area and eyewitnesses say the unmarked black Nissan Pathfinder is often seen patrolling the VOA area in Paynesville.

An eyewitness who was driving behind the speeding SUV said he saw Sherman jump out of the moving vehicle. He said the kidnappers looked foreign and suspected them of being Burkinabe.

In a video seen by FrontPageAfrica, Sherman, who was stark naked and bloody, is seen with cutting marks around his neck and another on his genitals. He also sustained severe injuries on his knee, head, forehead, back, buttock, and thigh.

He is heard wailing, “I’m in pain, oh, I’m in pain, oh. Y’all help me. They carried my brother. They’re going to kill my brother. Y’all, please carry me to the hospital.”

He added, “The people put the windshield [glass] up, I fought. The passenger seat behind [extra cabin seat in the trunk] and two people were sitting behind we didn’t know. When we sat, that’s when they… I said ooh they want to kill us.”

FrontPageAfrica learned that the police and security authorities have been interrogating Sherman as the whereabouts of Michael remain unknown.

According to the eyewitness who saw Sherman jumping down from the car, he stopped his car and observed when he saw Sherman jump from the car. “He started crawling towards me, crying ‘Please help me, please help me,’” he explained.

This happened around Rehab.

According to the eyewitness, the incident occurred at about 3:30 a.m. last Thursday. In his narrative, he said Sherman and his brother were supposed to alight at Rehab, but as the vehicle approached Rehab, it increased its speed, and that’s when Sherman and his brother started fighting.

“The guys put a rope around their necks. They had two guys in the back seat, so they put a rope around their necks, and they started fighting. But he was fighting for his life, so he managed to hold on to the glass, and they tried to put the glass up, but his hands were already between the glass, so he managed to pull the glass down with strength while they were concentrating on taking off his private part, and he managed to jump through the window while they were at the junction,” the eyewitness explained.

Ritualistic killings during elections are not a new phenomenon in Liberia. In 2021, a UN human rights expert called on the government to investigate a series of killings that have occurred this year, some of which have reportedly been linked to ritualistic practices.

At least 10 people were killed in unclear circumstances in December 2021, including five in September, reportedly with suspected links to ritualistic practices or political motivations.

Last week, Dr. Alan W. White, Co-Executive Director of the Advocacy Foundation for Human Rights, delivered a compelling testimony before the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, addressing the pressing issue of ritualistic killings in Africa, with a particular focus on Liberia. Dr. White shed light on the Foundation’s mission to combat human rights violations, including ritualistic killings and the alarming allegations linking these acts to high-ranking government officials, including the Executive Mansion.

In his testimony, Dr. White detailed the challenges faced in gathering information and conducting investigations into ritualistic killings, emphasizing the danger faced by sources who dare to speak out against these crimes.

Dr. White’s testimony also touched upon recent cases of ritualistic killings in Liberia, such as the mysterious disappearance of three young men hired for a task in Bong County in October 2020 by the St. Moses Funeral Home. The bodies of these young men were never returned to their families, and investigations into their deaths remain unresolved, raising suspicions of involvement by influential individuals with close government ties.

“The Foundation has received disturbing information about the frequency of such killings and the allegations linking it to the Executive Mansion (The Office of the President) and other high-ranking government officials. Details of these atrocities are difficult to obtain,” he said.

He also linked the past regime to acts of ritualistic killings, saying, “The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration during her 12 years (2006-2018) in office was plagued with ritual killings, and despite vows to bring them to an end, they continued. The same problems continue under the Weah administration, and unlike Sirleaf, there were no insiders reporting her direct involvement with the ritual killings.”

A graphic picture showing the injuries Sherman Cooper sustained. He’s currently receiving medical attention in the trauma unit of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center

Source: Liberia: Man Narrowly Escapes Attempted Ritualistic Murder; Brother Abducted by Kidnappers, Still Missing

Liberia – counties

Dr. Alan White, Former Chief Investigator of the SCSL, on ritual abuse in Sierra Leone and Liberia, links the Weah Administration to extrajudicial, ritualistic killings

A few days ago, on September 19, an important meeting took place in the United States, in the House of Representatives to be precise. A subcommittee on global human rights, of the Commission of Foreign Affairs, held a hearing on ‘Efforts to Address Ritual Abuse and Sacrifice in Africa’.

Witnesses invited to speak were Obed Byamugisha, Program Advisor, Kyampisi Childcare Ministries, Miriam Fullah, Trafficking in Persons Protection Manager, World Hope International, Dr. Alan White, Co-Executive Director, Advocacy Foundation for Human Rights and former Chief of Investigations of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL, which sentenced former Liberian warlord and president Charles Taylor to 50 years in prison), and Josephine Aparo, Founding Member, Global Survivor Network and International Justice Mission.

At least three leading Liberian newspapers published articles on the hearing, revelations and accusations notably of Dr. Alan White, who linked immediate past and present Liberian governments to ritualistic killings. The three articles – in the Daily Observer, Front Page Africa, and The New Dawn – are reproduced below. In a separate posting I will pay attention to the testimonies of the other witnesses.

The responsibility for the reporting on Dr. Alan White’s testimony in the three Liberian newspapers rests entirely with the publishers of said newspapers. White’s testimony addresses the roles of former president Sirleaf (2006 – 2018) and president Weah (2018 – present) and he formulates his observations and conclusions carefully. The newspapers’ headings are meant to attract the attention of the readers (buyers), without nuance. Therefore and to avoid any misunderstanding about White’s statements I’ve also included the full text of his important testimony (below).

Dr. White, who – as Chief Investigator of the SCSL – has extensive knowledge of ritualistic practices and abuses which occurred in Sierra Leone during this country’s civil war (1991-2002), also referred to these atrocities in his testimony. Moreover, he said, “This practice continues today in Sierra Leone and surges during election periods where people running for office believe that sacrificing a person, mostly younger boys and girls because it is believed the younger they are, the more power they get.”

With respect to Liberia he provides more than one example of ritualistic abuse and murder. His most serious accusation addresses the previous Administration of President Sirleaf and the present Weah Administration: “The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration during her 12 years (2006-2018) in office was plagued with ritual killings and despite vows to bring them to an end they continued. The same problems continue under the Weah administration and unlike Sirleaf there were no insiders reporting her direct involvement with the ritual killings. However, we have received information that current administration has been linked to ritualistic killings of children. Sources advise the police are not allowed to investigate these matters or if they do, it is done superficially as to not get to close to those involved. Also, because of the high-level links to the government it is taboo to say anything about it or otherwise you could be the next victim.” 

White could hardly be more specific when stating: “The Foundation has received disturbing information about the frequency of such killings and the allegations linking it to the Executive Mansion (The Office of the President) and other high-ranking government officials. Details of these atrocities are difficult to obtain.” 

On October 10, presidential and legislative elections will be held in Liberia. Should I add more?
(webmaster FVDK).

Liberia: Alan White Accuses Weah’s Gov’t of Extrajudicial, Ritualistic Killings

…. Calls for justice for murdered auditors, three missing boys resound at U.S. Congressional hearings

Piublished: September 20, 2023
By: William Q. Harmon – Daily Observer, Liberia

Renowned human rights activist and Co-Executive Director for the Advocacy Foundation for Human Rights (AFHR), Dr. Alan White has told the United States House Subcommittee on Foreign Affairs that President George Weah and his Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) are involved in acts of extrajudicial and ritualistic killing.

Addressing the subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, under the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Dr. White said that at least 10 people were killed in unclear circumstances in 2021, including five in September of that year reportedly with suspected links to ritualistic practices or political motivations.

The killings referenced by Dr. White, all of which occurred during the Weah administration, were never solved and remain fresh on the minds of Liberians as the country goes to the polls on October 10 this year, to elect a president, vice president and 88 legislators. 

On December 10, 2021, the United Nations issued a public statement –“A UN human rights expert today called on the Liberian Government to promptly investigate a series of killings that have occurred this year, some of which have reportedly been linked to ritualistic practices.” 

White told the subcommittee that his organization has received disturbing information about the frequency of such killings and the allegations linking it to the Executive Mansion (The Office of the President) and other high ranking government officials. Details of these atrocities, he said, are difficult to obtain. 

“Sources advise the police are not allowed to investigate these matters or if they do, it is done superficially as to not get too close to those involved,” White told the Subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations at a hearing on Tuesday, 19 September.  “Also, because of the high-level links to the government it is taboo to say anything about it or otherwise you could be the next victim.”

White called on the U.S. government and global partners for the prosecution for these heinous crimes. “The killing must stop and hope your legislation can effect change and stop this madness once and for all,” he told the subcommittee. 

White’s AFHR, a nonprofit organization, located in Washington, DC, USA, targets human rights violators, that engage in public corruption and seek justice and accountability for the victims of such atrocities. The group is also actively engaged in conducting investigations and compiling information about those individuals who are committing ritualistic killings, especially in Liberia.

In his testimony, White made specific references to the mysterious disappearance of three young men who were hired by Moses Ahossouhe, owner of the St. Moses Funeral Parlor in Monrovia, to undertake a task in Bong County; the high profile death of four auditors; as well as other mysterious deaths that took place in the country under the Weah administration. 

On October 17, 2020, Robert M. Blamo, Jr, 29, Siafa  Gbana Boimah, 34, and Bobby S. Gbeanquoi, 32, were reported drowned in a river in Fuamah District, lower Bong County, when a canoe they were allegedly riding capsized.

“The bodies of the three young men were retrieved by Ahoussouhe and never returned to the parents. He has close ties to the President and the government,” White told the committee. “And the Ministry of Justice has failed to provide an update or release the outcome of an investigative report on circumstances that led to the conclusion they drowned. Why didn’t they release the bodies to the family?” 

The aggrieved families believed that their children are being kept in a sacred place to be used for alleged ‘ritualistic purposes’. The family members sought the assistance of the international community, including the US Embassy and the United Nations.”

Three of the most recent victims were either former officials or had links to high profile former politicians, he said. “Even a recent death of some young girls involved in political campaign event held by the CDC sparked outrage by the citizens and allegations their deaths were done for ritualistic reasons,” he said while referencing the headline of a local newspaper which said: Citizens to President Weah: ‘No ritual can help you from leaving office after the elections.’ 

White noted that the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration during her 12 years (2006-2018) in office was plagued with ritual killings and despite vows to bring them to an end they continued. “The same problems continue under the Weah administration and, unlike Sirleaf, there were no insiders reporting her direct involvement with the ritual killings,” he said.

Over the past 20 years White has been actively engaged in seeking justice and accountability for victims of human rights violations and conducting criminal investigations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Africa, most specifically West Africa. From July 2002-July 2005, he was detailed to the United Nations backed Special Court for Sierra Leone located in Freetown, Sierra Leone West Africa where he served as the Chief of Investigations. 

“As Chief of Investigations of the Special  Court for Sierra Leone, I directed all criminal investigations which led to numerous indictments and convictions, most notably was former Liberian President Charles Taylor who was the first sitting Head of State to be indicted and convicted for war crimes and continues to serve his 50 year prison sentence.” 

White was one of four witnesses who testified during the hearing on the theme: “Efforts to Address Ritual Abuse and Sacrifice in Africa” on Tuesday, September 19, 2023. The others were Obed Byamugisha, Program Advisor, Kyampisi Childcare Ministries; Miriam Fullah, Trafficking in Persons Protection Manager, World Hope International; and Josephine Aparo, Founding Member, Global Survivor Network and International Justice Mission. 

He applauded the work of the Subcommittee and its members, noting that his organization will continue to work on the issues. “We hope that this Hearing will shed a very bright light on a very dark issue plaguing many African countries and especially Liberia, who experienced this despicable crime against humanity during war and peace, yet it doesn’t stop,” he said. 

His testimony to the U.S. House Subcommittee is the latest deposit in a trove of numerous reports with claims of crime and corruption on the part of the Weah administration. So far, some of these claims have resulted in sanctions against three of Weah’s top lieutenants — former Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel McGill; former Solicitor General, Cllr. Saymah Syrenius Cephus; and former Managing Director of the National Port Authority, Bill Twehway. 

Yet, amid the U.S. sanctions, the three individuals continue to wield influence across the country — especially during the current election period, as Both McGill and Twehway are splurging cash to gain favor with voters in order to be elected to legislative office come October 10. 

Dr. White’s hope that the U.S. Congress’ “…  legislation can effect change and stop this madness once and for all,” might resonate with many Liberians at home and abroad, but the October 10 elections will be the litmus test of whether the critical mass of Liberians at home feel the same way about the state of affairs in their country.

Source: Liberia: Alan White Accuses Weah’s Gov’t of Extrajudicial, Ritualistic Killings

AND:

Liberia: Dr. Alan White Highlights Ritualistic Killings in Liberia before U.S. House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee; Links Immediate Past and Current Government

Published: September 20, 2023
By: Lennart Dodoo – Front Page Africa, Liberia

Washington, D.C. – Dr. Alan W. White, Co-Executive Director of the Advocacy Foundation for Human Rights, delivered a compelling testimony before the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, addressing the pressing issue of ritualistic killings in Africa, with a particular focus on Liberia. Dr. White shed light on the Foundation’s mission to combat human rights violations, including ritualistic killings and the alarming allegations linking these acts to high-ranking government officials, including the Executive Mansion.

The Advocacy Foundation for Human Rights, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., has been dedicated to targeting human rights violators, exposing public corruption, and advocating for justice and accountability for the victims of such atrocities.

Others who testified before the Committee headed by Congressman Chris Smith Obed Byamugisha, Program Advisor, Kyampisi Childcare Ministries; Miriam Fullah, Trafficking in Persons Protection Manager, World Hope International; Josephine Aparo
Founding Member, Global Survivor Network and International Justice Mission.

In his testimony, Dr. White detailed the challenges faced in gathering information and conducting investigations into ritualistic killings, emphasizing the danger faced by sources who dare to speak out against these crimes.

Dr. White’s credentials as Chief of Investigations for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, where he directed criminal investigations leading to numerous indictments and convictions, lent significant weight to his testimony. He notably highlighted the conviction of former Liberian President Charles Taylor, the first sitting Head of State to be indicted and convicted for war crimes, serving a 50-year prison sentence.

Screenshot – to watch the video, click here

The Special Court for Sierra Leone was established to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the devastating civil war in Sierra Leone, spanning from 1991 to 2002, which resulted in the deaths of over 70,000 people. Dr. White’s investigations led him to neighboring Liberia, which also experienced two brutal civil wars, resulting in the deaths of over 250,000 Liberians.

During his tenure as Chief of Investigations, Dr. White bore witness to unspeakable human rights violations perpetrated through ritualistic activities, a phenomenon he had not encountered before. He recounted a chilling story from 2002, where a 70-year-old man seeking a political position in a local Village, believed in black magic and sacrificed a 9-year-old boy to gain power. This horrifying act shed light on the prevalence of ritualistic killings in West Africa, where individuals commission murders to obtain body parts for magic spells and gain political power.

The Foundation has received disturbing information about the frequency of such killings and the allegations linking it to the Executive Mansion (The Office of the President) and other high-ranking government officials. Details of these atrocities are difficult to obtain.

Dr. Alan W. White, Co-Executive Director of the Advocacy Foundation for Human Rights

Dr. White’s testimony revealed the widespread practice of ritualistic killings during Sierra Leone’s civil war, with various rebel groups and warring factions, such as the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), and the Civil Defense Force (CDF), routinely engaging in such acts. He described how rebels would boast about consuming the organs of their victims, believing it granted them supernatural power.

Importantly, Dr. White highlighted that ritual killings persist in Sierra Leone today, often escalating during election periods when some politicians believe they can gain power through human sacrifices. These alarming practices have also been reported in Liberia, where ritualistic killings are a combination of traditional beliefs and the criminal behavior of unscrupulous politicians.

Liberia has a history of ritualistic killings during its civil wars, with figures like Milton Blahyi, also known as ‘General Butt Naked’, publicly admitting to eating children’s hearts and taking part in human sacrifices to ensure victory in battle.

Dr. White’s testimony also touched upon recent cases of ritualistic killings in Liberia, such as the mysterious disappearance of three young men hired for a task in Bong County in October 2020 by the St. Moses Funeral Home. The bodies of these young men were never returned to their families, and investigations into their deaths remain unresolved, raising suspicions of involvement by influential individuals with close government ties.

“The Foundation has received disturbing information about the frequency of such killings and the allegations linking it to the Executive Mansion (The Office of the President) and other high-ranking government officials. Details of these atrocities are difficult to obtain,” he said.

He also linked the past regime to acts of ritualistic killings, saying “The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration during her 12 years (2006-2018) in office was plagued with ritual killings and despite vows to bring them to an end they continued. The same problems continue under the Weah administration and unlike Sirleaf there were no insiders reporting her direct involvement with the ritual killings.”

Dr. White commended the Subcommittee for its work and called for a thorough examination of the issue of ritualistic killings in Africa, especially in Liberia. He urged legislation that could bring an end to these heinous crimes, emphasizing the importance of exposing those involved and prosecuting them for their actions. The Advocacy Foundation for Human Rights remains committed to addressing this dark issue plaguing many African countries and hopes that the Subcommittee’s efforts will help put an end to these atrocities once and for all.

Source: Liberia: Dr. Alan White Highlights Ritualistic Killings in Liberia before U.S. House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee; Links Immediate Past and Current Government

AND:

The killings must stop! 

— Dr. Alan White asks U.S. for prosecution of those in ritualistic killings in Liberia

Published: September 20, 2023
By: New Dawn, Liberia

The U.N. former chief investigator for the special court of Sierra Leone, Dr. Alan White is requesting prosecution for ritualistic killings and despicable crimes against humanity in Liberia during war and in peace, saying “the killings must stop.”

Dr. Alan briefed U.S. lawmakers in Washington Tuesday, 19 September 2023, giving historical accounts of recent killings and those carried out during Liberia’s civil war for ritualistic purposes.

“Those involved need to be exposed and prosecuted for these heinous crimes. The killings must stop, and we hope that through legislature can effect change and stop this madness once and for all,” said Dr. White.

Dr. White indicated that former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s administration was plagued with ritualistic killings, and the same problem continues under incumbent President George Manneh Weah’s administration.

Unlike Sirleaf’s administration, Dr. White said, there was no insider reporting on her direct involvement on ritualistic killings.

However, he said he has received information that President Weah’s administration is being linked to the ritualistic killings of children.

He said sources have revealed that the police are only allowed to investigate these matters in a conspicuous but very superficial manner.

Dr. White explained that notable of these cases is the incident involving victims Robert Blamo, Jr., 29, Siafa Boimah, 33 and Blama, who went missing after being hired by St. Moses Funeral Parlor proprietor Mr. Moses Ahoussouhe to undertake a contract in Bong Mines.

Mr. Ahoussouhe was accused of hiring the three men on Saturday, 15 October 2020 to travel to Bong Mines to do technical work for him at his diamond creek when all three of them went missing. They were alleged to have drowned when a canoe they were riding in had capsized.

Dr. White said Ahoussouhe (St. Moses) retrieved the bodies of the three young men but they were never returned to their parents.

“He has close ties with the president and the Government of Liberia, and through the Ministry of Justice, he has contact as well. They failed to provide update or release the outcome of the investigation or report on the circumstances that led to the conclusion [that] they drowned,” said Dr. White.

Dr. White indicated that the aggrieved families believe that their children are being kept in a secret place to be used for ritualistic purposes.

He said the family members sought the assistance of the international community including the U.S. Embassy and the United Nations, leading the UN to call on the Liberian government to investigate killings which had been reported to link to ritual practice.

In 2021 alone, Dr. White said at least ten people were killed, reportedly linked to ritualistic killing or political motivation.

He added that they were either former officials or had links to former politicians. White noted that recent deaths involving some girls during President George Manneh Weah’s 2023 political campaign outraged the citizens.

He said the allegation is that the killings were done for ritualistic reasons. He also referenced citizens’ message to President Weah which was carried in the NewDawn newspaper’s headline that no amount of money or rituals can help President Weah and his Coalition for Democratic Change from leaving office after the 10 October 2023 elections.

Dr. White said his organization will continue to work on these issues in African countries, especially Liberia which experiences despicable crimes against humanity during war and in peace.

He recalled that during the 14 years civil war in Liberia, there were so many cases where gunmen, some of them child soldiers, ate victims’ body parts.

He stated that it was well documented that during Liberia’s civil war, ritualistic killing was a common place, naming Gen. Butt Naked, now Evangelist Milton Blayee as of the notorious culprits.

According to Dr. White, Mr. Blayee testified before Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that he ate children’s hearts.

He said Blayee indicated that human sacrifices were intended to ensure victories in battles.

Source: The killings must stop!
– Dr. Alan White asks U.S. for prosecution of those in ritualistic killings in Liberia

AND:

Full text of the Testimony Submitted to The Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations – “Efforts to Address Ritual Abuse and Sacrifice in Africa” – September 19, 2023 – 10:00 a.m.
Statement of Dr. Alan W. White,
Co-Executive Director – Advocacy Foundation for Human Rights – Washington, D.C. and Founding Chief of Investigations of the United Nations backed Special Court for Sierra Leone.

First of all I would like to the thank Chairman Congressman Chris Smith and Ranking Member Congresswoman Susan Wild, of the U.S. House of Representatives Global Health, Global Human Rights, International Organizations and other members of this Subcommittee for holding this very important hearing. I also want to publicly commend Congressman Smith for his tireless and unwavering efforts in seeking justice and accountability for countless victims of human rights violations from around the Globe. You provide a voice that otherwise would go unheard and a platform to those victims, who have suffered and continue to suffer with no one to turn to. Your steadfast support is globally recognized and very much needed in these troubled times we live in, and where so many atrocities are being committed around the world. 

I am the Co-Executive Director for the Advocacy Foundation for Human Rights, a non- profit organization, located in Washington, DC. The Advocacy Foundation for Human Rights targets human rights violators, that engaged in public corruption and justice and accountability for the victims of such atrocities. We are actively engaged in conducting investigations and compiling information about those individuals who are committing ritualistic killings, especially in Liberia. The Foundation has received disturbing information about the frequency of such killings and the allegations linking it to the Executive Mansion (The Office of the President) and other high-ranking government officials. Details of these atrocities are difficult to obtain. 

Sources to the Foundation are endangered just by speaking out – and I will discuss this later in my testimony. 

Over the past 20 years I have been actively engaged in seeking justice and accountability for victims of human rights violations and conducting criminal investigations of war crimes and crimes against humanity on the continent of Africa, most specifically West Africa. During my last 3 years of Federal Law Enforcement service from July 2002-July 2005, I was detailed to the United Nations backed Special Court for Sierra Leone located in Freetown, Sierra Leone West Africa where I served as the Chief of Investigations. As Chief of Investigations of the Special Court for Sierra Leone I directed all criminal investigations which led to numerous indictments and convictions, most notably was former Liberian President Charles Taylor who was the first sitting Head of State to be indicted and convicted for war crimes and continues to serve his 50 year prison sentence. 

The Special Court for Sierra Leone was established to investigate and prosecute those who bear the greatest responsibilty for the civil war in Sierra Leone, which lasted from March 1991 to January 2002 and resulted in the deaths of over 70,000 people. Our investigations led us to neighboring Liberia which had suffered two civil wars, the first from December 1989 to August 1997 and then again in 1999 to 2003 where over 250,000 Liberians were killed. 

While serving as the Chief of Investigations I witnessed and investigated some of the most horrific and unspeakable human rights violations no one could ever imagine that someone could inflict on another human being. The horrors of civil war are always tragic, however, to see those involved in the commission of killing and torturing another human being by engaging in ritualistic activities was something I had not seen before and quite frankly prepared to deal with. Yet shortly after I arrived in Freetown, Sierra Leone I recall in August 2002 a news story where a 70-year-old man seeking to become a Paramount Chief of a local Village, a political position in traditional system of local government and an integral element of governance, was convicted of a ritualistic killing. I learned quickly that ritualistic killings were common place, particularly in West Africa. This story reported the man seeking to become a Paramount Chief believed in black magic and in order to get elected he needed to sacrifice a young child and in this case he bought a 9-year old boy for 800,000 leones ($160) from a family desperate for money.  

Reportedly he gruesomely killed the 9-year-old boy by slitting his throat and removing his liver and taking some blood to local witch doctors in the neighboring country of Guinea where they would use in making a liquid concoction he could drink and give him what is known as “Juju”. This was a term I learned later meant power and used in ritualistic killings by rebels fighting in the civil wars, both in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Suprisingly, I learned that ritual killings or human sacrifices to local deities were customary in parts of West Africa, where some people commission killings to obtain body parts for magic spells to gain political power and influence. 

Early on during my criminal investigations of war crimes and crimes against in Sierra Leone I heard routinely about ritualistic killings involving the various rebel group and warring factions in Sierra Leone, which included the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and the Civil Defense Force (CDF). 

The war started in Kailahun, so we started our investigations in that part of the country where we uncovered numerous mass graves and in most cases the victims were civilians, including children. Their identities were mostly unknown, although some names were given. However, our witness interviews revealed that the RUF or RUF/AFRC were identified as the alleged perpetrator. 

There were several causes of death of the victims reported including they were locked in houses and burnt, “ritual human sacrifice for protection” and gunshot and knife wounds. One of the witnesses interviews I recall involved a female RUF ex-child combatant, who advised that ritual killings were routinely practiced on enemy fighters or on civilians, including children. Sadly, the rebels from the various warring factions would boast about killing their enemy, many of which were young child soldiers, and eating their heart, drinking their blood, or eating other body parts claiming they received extra power from doing so. 

This practice continues today in Sierra Leone and surges during election periods where people running for office believe that sacrificing a person, mostly younger boys and girls because it is believed the younger they are, the more power they get. The Voice of America (VOA) in Freetown in 2012 reported on the so-called ritual murders during election time and have been a part of African society for centuries. “In Sierra Leone, some believe ritual murders increase  during election time because some politicians think they will gain political power from another human’s body parts.” 

Chief Minister, NaCSA Boss Indicted in Attempted Ritual Murder of Virgins Girls in Freetown (sierraloaded.sl) 

In October 2021 a senior government official, who reported to the President of Sierra Leone was indicted for an attempted ritual murder of six “Virgin Girls” in Freetown. The Chief Minister in Sierra Leone has been accused of forcing a primary school teacher to kidnap six virgin schoolgirls for ritualistic purposes. Fortunately, the plot was foiled when one of the whistleblowers came forward and reported it to the police which led to the Chief Minister’s arrest and indictment. However, reportedly he was released from custody while the investigation continued and to date no prosecution has occurred. 

Dr Fred P.M. VAN DER KRAAIJ, author of a blog known as liberiapastandpresent.org, who lived and worked in Liberia as an Economist has chronicled a number of the ritualistic killings and other significant events in Liberia. In one of his blogs, he writes — “Today’s practice of ritual killings in Liberia – because it still exists! – mainly is a combination of traditional beliefs which inspire men-eating and modern-day criminal behavior of unscrupulous politicians who consider their ambitions worth more than the life of their victims. During the 14-year civil war (1989-2003) there were so many cases of gunmen – some of them child soldiers – eating their victim’s hearts and other body parts that the Catholic Church issued a formal denunciation of these practices (Stephen Ellis, The Mask of Anarchy, 1999: dust jacket). Liberia.” 

It is well documented that during the civil wars in Liberia that ritual killings were commonplace and one of the most notorious rebels engaged in such horrific acts, is Milton Blahyi aka General Butt Naked, a feared former Rebel Commander who fought in the Liberian civil war. He testified before the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) where he publicly stated “I ate children’s hearts,” and admitted to taking part in human sacrifices as part of traditional ceremonies intended to ensure victory in battle. He also told BBC that his forces his forces had killed over 20,000 people. 

During the first civil war (1989-1996) there were also other reports about Charles Taylor and his rebels accounts reportedly the formation of a group of cannibals called Top 20 of which he was a member. Reportedly the group, comprised of Taylor and 16 rebels of his own army known as the National Patriotic Front for Liberia (NPFL) engaged in human sacrifices at Taylor’s house. 

On December 10, 2004, BBC publicly reported Hundreds of Liberian women had taken to the streets of the capital, Monrovia, protested against a recent wave of ritual killings. Bodies of children had been found with some of their organs missing, taken for what are viewed as magical properties. These killings were reportedly linked to politicians and the wealthy, who many believe to pay for the murders to increase their chances of good fortune. 

There were other media reports documenting, including the Analyst, the discovery of the bodies of two unidentified children around the Du River area. One of the victims was a girl believed to be 12 years old. The media reports quoted eyewitnesses as saying that the body was discovered with “fresh blood coming from its mouth and nose.” 

The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration during her 12 years (2006-2018) in office was plagued with ritual killings and despite vows to bring them to an end they continued. The same problems continue under the Weah administration and unlike Sirleaf there were no insiders reporting her direct involvement with the ritual killings. However, we have received information that current administration has been linked to ritualistic killings of children. Sources advise the police are not allowed to investigate these matters or if they do, it is done superficially as to not get to close to those involved. Also, because of the high-level links to the government it is taboo to say anything about it or otherwise you could be the next victim. 

One of the most notable allegations of ritualistic killings involve the mysterious disappearance of three young men who were hired by the Proprietor of the St. Moses Funeral Parlor to undertake a task in Bong County. On October 17, 2020, Robert M. Blamo, Jr, 29, Siafa Gbana Boimah, 34, and Bobby S. Gbeanquoi, 32, were reported drowned in a river in Fuama district, lower Bong County when a canoe they were allegedly riding capsized while returning to their respective homes. They were reportedly contracted to do a, “piece of job” at the Oriental mining company owned and operated by Mr. Moses H. Ahossouhe (Proprietor of St. Moses Funeral Parlour), and one Mr. Abraham S. Samuels. It was reported by Mr. Ahoussouhe that the three young men drowned. The bodies were retrieved by Mr. Ahoussouhe and never returned to the parents. He has close ties to the President and the Government of Liberia (GOL), through the Ministry of Justice has failed to provide an update or release the outcome of an investigative report on circumstances that led to the conclusion they drowned. Why didn’t they release the bodies to the family? 

The aggrieved families believed that their children are being kept in a sacred place to be used for alleged “ritualistic purposes.” The family members sought the assistance of the international community, including the US Embassy and the United Nations. 

On December 10, 2021, the United Nations issued a public statement –“ A UN human rights expert today called on the Liberian Government to promptly investigate a series of killings that have occurred this year, some of which have reportedly been linked to ritualistic practices.” 

At least 10 people have been killed in unclear circumstances in 2021, including five in September reportedly with suspected links to ritualistic practices or political motivations. According to information received by the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, Morris Tidball-Binzthree of the most recent victims were either former officials or had links to high profile former politicians. 

Even a recent death of some young girls involved in political campaign event held by the CDC sparked outrage by the citizens and allegations their deaths were done for ritualistic reasons. The local headlines read – Liberia – Citizens to President Weah: ‘No ritual can help you from leaving office after the elections.’ 

On August 24, 2023, the New Dawn News reported Several residents of Montserrado County have told incumbent President George Manneh Weah that no amount of alleged human sacrifice, ritual, and money can prevent him and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) from leaving office. 

“We want to tell President Weah that no amount of human sacrifice, ritual, and money can help in this election,” potential voters said in Montserrado County.” 

The foundation will continue to work on this issue and applauds the work of this Subcommittee and its members. We hope that this Hearing will shed a very bright light on a very dark issue plaguing many African countries and especially Liberia who experienced this despicable crime against humanity during war and peace, yet it doesn’t stop. Those involved  need to be exposed and prosecuted for these heinous crimes. The killing must stop and hope your legislation can effect change and stop this madness once and for all. 

Source: Testimony Submitted to The Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on
Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations – “Efforts to Address Ritual Abuse and Sacrifice in Africa”; September 19, 2023 – 10:00 a.m. – Statement of Dr. Alan W. White, Co-Executive Director, Advocacy Foundation for Human Rights, Washington, D.C.

Chopped up with an axe and a heart eaten out – an atrocious crime committed in Lofa County, Liberia, in 1993

Warning: the following article contains a graphic description of an inhumane act

I’ve written on an earlier occasion on the atrocities, ritualistic murders, cannibalism and other war crimes committed during Liberia’s civil war – for shortness sake let me refer to my October 20, 2022 posting, entitled ‘Atrocities, witchcraft, superstition and ritualistic cannibalism during Liberia’s First Civil War (1989-1997)‘.

There’s not much to add without risking repeating myself. Let me just briefly mention what I consider the triple motive of the perpetrator(s): first, to intimidate the bystander, the perceived enemy; secondly, to make clear that he, the actor, is the strongest, the conquerer, and thirdly, without doubt, there is a religious or superstitious drive, a belief in the supernatural powers of eating the heart of the enemy. Notably the latter motive makes it a ritualistic act, and murder, a despicable crime.

The 2009 report of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) includes many examples of ritualistic acts committed during the back-to-back civil wars (1989-2003). For reasons only known to herself, President Sirleaf (2006-2018) never implemented the TRC recommendations including the prosecution of the rebel leaders responsible for war crimes and human rights violations, possibly because she was also recommended for a sanction because of her (admitted) support of the NPLF, the rebel organization which started the civil war in 1989. Also President Weah (2018 – present) decided not to start procedures establishing a war crimes court, backtracking on previous statements when still in opposition.

The result is impunity for the perpetrators. Injustice. An insult to the survivors and victims.

Liberians will go to the polls on October 10 to elect a president, vice president and 88 lawmakers. The incumbent president, George Weah, has shown his position when it comes to justice for the victims and survivors. His main challengers are a former Vice President under President Sirleaf, Joseph Boakai, from Lofa County, whose running mate is a political protégé of warlord-turned-senator Prince Johnson – yes, the rebel commander who in 1990 gave his men orders to torture and kill then President Samuel Doe – and Alexander Cummings, who has promised to establish a war crimes tribunal when elected into the highest office.

We’ll closely watch events in Liberia during the coming month(s).
(FVDK)

Chopped up with an axe and a heart eaten out: some crimes never die

Published: September 13, 2023
By: Alain Werner – Civitas Maxima

Exactly 30 years ago, in the summer of 1993, a group of rebel soldiers sowed unheard-of terror in the town of Foya, in the small West African country of Liberia, then ravaged by civil war.

Here, 450 kilometers north of the capital Monrovia, a pious man respected by his community had the courage to denounce the rebel group that occupied the premises, ULIMO (United Liberation Movement of Democracy for Liberia). He did so to a humanitarian group, and told them that ULIMO was responsible for the looting of a hospital financed by humanitarian aid.

Once the foreigners had left, the pious man was taken to what was then used as an airstrip and his thorax was cut out by the rebels, his heart extracted and eaten in front of the population. “Try ULIMO, your heart” – which could be translated as “Defy ULIMO, we’ll take your heart” – was one of the slogans used to terrorize the population, a slogan that some civilians who survived that inferno still remember.

The most bloodthirsty of the ULIMO commanders, who opened the pious man’s chest with an axe and spread his killing spree to Foya, was known by the war nickname of “Ugly Boy”, despite his handsome features. The local population, who spoke a different dialect than the ULIMO soldiers, had nicknamed this commander differently among themselves, so as to be able to alert each other to his arrival without being understood by the rebels. They called him “Saah Chuey”, or “the man with the axe” in the Kissi language, as this commander was famous for chopping up civilians with his axe.

“Ugly Boy” was never tried for his ignominious deeds. Indeed, legend has it that he died by popular vindication, having been recognized in Guinea by refugees who had fled Liberia. However, if he were still alive today, “Ugly Boy” would still not have been tried in Liberia.

Indeed, in August we will be celebrating 20 years since the end of the wars in this country, and yet no one has been tried by a court in the country; the government and the United Nations having done nothing for the forgotten victims of Liberia. Despite the fact that a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommended in 2009 that the main players in the war should be brought to justice, and that at least 250,000 people lost their lives during these bloody conflicts between 1989 and 2003.

However, on Thursday June 1, 2023, the Federal Criminal Court of Appeal in Switzerland convicted a man, Alieu Kosiah, of participating in the axe murder of the Pious Man. Jurisdiction was given in our country because Mr. Kosiah had been resident in Lausanne since the late 1990s. The conviction came exactly 30 years after the events, and was handed down in Bellinzona, seat of the Federal Criminal Court, some 7,000 kilometers from the scene of the crimes, Foya.

Alieu Kosiah had already been convicted in June 2021 by the Criminal Court for multiple acts of war crimes, including having eaten a piece of the pious man’s heart in the company of “Ugly Boy”. At the time, however, he was found not guilty of the axe-murder, the first judges considering that he had not played an active role in this crime.

The appeal judges decided otherwise and sentenced Alieu Kosiah for complicity in the murder of the pious man, an act qualified as a war crime and a crime against humanity. During the reading of the verdict, the President of the Court, Olivier Thormann, explained that, according to the Court, Alieu Kosiah had handed the pious man over to “Ugly Boy” to be taken to the Foya airstrip, knowing full well what would happen next.

This appeal judgment marks Swiss legal history, as it is the very first conviction in our country for crimes against humanity. It now opens the way for prosecutions in Switzerland for such crimes, even if committed before 2011 and the entry into force of the new provisions of the penal code.

As a lawyer and Director of Civitas Maxima, since 2014 I have represented several Liberian victims in this case alongside Me Romain Wavre, including a friend of the pious man who was present at the scene and witnessed his ordeal, having himself been a victim of ULIMO crimes.

Our clients and other victims have shown exceptional resilience, dignity and courage. Most of them came to Switzerland three times to testify throughout the proceedings, and overcame the obstacles posed by the Ebola epidemic in 2014-2015 and the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020-2021 to finally obtain justice.

War crimes and crimes against humanity are unique in that they “never die”. Indeed, because they concern the international community as a whole, these offences are not extinguished by a statute of limitations after a certain number of years, as is the case for most ordinary crimes. Prosecutions for war crimes and crimes against humanity are thus theoretically possible as long as the person accused of committing them is alive and evidence exists, theoretically even if the victims are all dead. Just as the forgotten victims of Liberia obtained justice in Switzerland in 2023 for crimes committed so far away in 1993, victims of international crimes committed during current or recent armed conflicts must never lose hope. Even if we must do everything to ensure that they obtain justice before 2053 for the crimes they have suffered.


The article first appeared in French on Heidi News on the 16th of July, 2023.

Source: Chopped up with an axe and a heart eaten out: some crimes never die