Legal Monitoring of the Woewiyu case
Former Defense Minister and Spokesperson of Liberian Rebel Faction Held Guilty in Philadelphia in July 2018.
On January 30th 2014, Thomas Jucontee Woewiyu was placed under investigation in the U.S. for seven counts of crimes of perjury and two counts of fraud related to his immigration papers. On the 12th of May of the same year he was arrested in Newark Airport, returning from Liberia. In October, a bail was paid and he was granted temporary release before his trial under the condition that he stayed under house arrest.
For large stretches of the first Liberian Civil War (1989 – 1996) most of the country was under control of the NPFL (National Patriotic Front of Liberia), led by Charles Taylor. The faction is responsible for a very large number of international crimes, including sexual slavery, mass murders and conscription of child soldiers. Over 60,000 human rights violations committed by the NPFL were formally recorded by the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
According to the indictment, Thomas Woewiyu served as the faction’s spokesman and worked to justify its mission and objectives to high ranking foreign officials. Since 1972 Woewiyu had been living in the United States where is has legal permanent residency, occasionally returning to Liberia. On January 23, 2006 he made an application for United States citizenship by submitting an Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS") Form.
Woewiyu is accused of having lied in order to obtain citizenship, failing to disclose his association with the NPFL as well as the fact that he was connected to crimes committed by the NPFL.
Woewiyu faced trial starting 11th of June, 2018. He was convicted of 11 out of 16 counts on 03rd July 2018. He faces up to 110 years in prison. His sentence will be determined on 15 October, 2018.
Civitas Maxima monitored the trial in cooperation with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld LLP.
Below, Civitas Maxima posts daily summaries of the hearings.