President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Prs. Sirleaf Submits UCMJ Bill For Enactment
By Wilfred Gortor
MONROVIA, August 7 (LINA) - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has submitted to the National Legislature for enactment, a Bill seeking to establish a Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL).
The Bill, according to the Liberian leader and Commander-in-Chief of the AFL, is aimed at providing the legal framework for jurisdictional authority for dispensing justice and the right to due process within the army.
President Sirleaf, in a communication accompanying the Bill Thursday, disclosed that over the years, personnel of the AFL have been subjected to the UCMJ of the United States of America, as well as recommendations of the AFL board of inquiry and its correspondent disciplinary board.
She stressed that the National Defense Act provides that all members of the AFL shall be subjected to the UCMJ whether on or off duty, and that in accordance with the National Defense Act of 2008, the Bill relates to military personnel and other personnel, among others.
She said the Bill also relates to soldiers awaiting discharge after expiration of the term of their enlistment, volunteers from the time of their muster, inductees, prisoners of war in custody of the AFL and other persons connected to the military.
This due process mechanism, according to President Sirleaf, needs institutional affirmation which has informed the decision to legislate the UCMJ for the AFL.
The Liberian requested the legislature to ensure a timely enactment of the Bill in a bid to provide for legal obligations and protection for members of the AFL.
Meanwhile, both houses of the Legislature have simultaneously forwarded the Bill to their committees on National Defense and Judiciary, for subsequent evaluation.