By Agnes M. Tarr
About fifteen thousand former soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia ( AFL} , have petitioned the Center for the Protection of Human Rights, (CPHR} Executive Director Cllr. T. Dempster Brown to represent the legal interest of the personnel in a legal battle with the Liberian Government which is about to ensue.
The petition signed by twelve Executive officials and approved by RTD.LTC. Richard B. Boy, National Chairman and was read by the Secretary General of retired Major Anthony B. Jaryee, noted that as professional soldiers who have stood in the defense of the nation’s constitution, it is sadden to note with deep regret that the infringement on Article Vii(B) of the comprehensive Peace Agreement, CPA , and Article 34(B&C) of the Liberian constitution in dissolving the national Army by the former National Transitional Government of Liberia under the Chairmanship of Charles Gyude Bryant must not be allowed to be swept under the rug.
Major Jaryee noted that with the notification of this unconstitutionality which led to the untimely dissolution of AFL without back-pay of personnel, vulnerability, hunger, deaths via frustration, diseases and social depression are daily creeping in he lives of personnel, “ therefore , we hereby petition you (Cllr.T. Dempster Brown) to be our legal counsel to intervene by taking on the Government of Liberia to legally fight for our status under the CPA and Liberian constitution through litigation,” retired Major said on behalf of his colleagues.
At the same time he outlined some demands from Government of Liberia which includes; Government to make seven (7) years payment to all members of the constituted AFL who were unconstitutionally disbanded in contravention of the CPA.
That muster should be conducted of the disbanded members of the AFL to know the number of personnel, and that those who are disabling and reached the retirement age be honorably retired with benefits in keeping with law.
Those who are not disabled and reached the retirement age also be retired honorably with benefits. Also those who are not disable and energetic and trained must be recalled in the Armed Forces of Liberia.
The spokesman called on civil society members, well meaning Liberians that predicated upon the violation of Article Vii (b) of the (CPA) and Article (34) of the Liberian constitution by the Liberian Government, personnel of AFL must be treated with caution and given benefits in keeping with law.
Cllr. Brown, making remarks upon receiving the petition from the unconstitutionally dissolved AFL, he appreciated the petition and vowed to be unbending and will be in the position to resist any temptation to undermine due justice to the former personnel of the Armed Forces of Liberia.
He said, the AFL fought and defended the state for over fourteen year, put their lives online for the sake of the nation and therefore, they deserved treatments befitting their status as National soldiers for the sake of the peace that is being nurtured today.
Cllr. Brown however, added that Liberia is the only country that dissolves its entire Army in the world for what he termed as unconstitutional stance. He stressed that the country has only 2,000 AFL soldiers something he intoned is not sufficient for a post -war country that had fragile peace like Liberia.