President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Pres. Sirleaf Grants ‘Amnesty’ To Persons Who Surrendered Weapons
MONROVIA, September 10 (LINA) - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has by proclamation declared unconditionally to persons who shall surrender small arms and light weapons under the ECOWAS - EU Weapons collection program.
The amnesty applies to persons in Grand Gedeh, Maryland and River Gee counties within the stipulated project time frame.
The amnesty will cover the offence of illegal possession, use, and supply of fire arms and objects for lethal use against the Republic of Liberia.
This will be followed by the restoration of all rights, privileges, and immunities under the Constitution and the laws which have been made in pursuance thereof.
According to a Foreign Ministry press release issued here Friday, the Liberian leader recognizes that the proliferation and illegal possession of small arms and light weapons poses a grave threat to the peace and stability of Liberia and the sub-region, and constitutes a major tool of fuelling armed conflicts and perpetrating crimes.
As such, President Sirleaf has formulated policies and laws, and has established national structures by law to effectively control the illegitimate flow and possession of small arms and light weapons in Liberia, the sub-region, and the global community, including the transfer of arms by suppliers and arms brokers through Liberia.
Title 26 of the Liberian Code of Law Revised – Penal Code criminalizes the illegal possession, use and supply of fire arms and objects for lethal use.
The Proclamation also states that progressive efforts are also being made by ECOWAS to control the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, including its disastrous consequences (such as its contribution to the prolongation of armed conflicts and illegal exploitation of natural resources) through the “ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, their Ammunition and other Related Materials” and implementation of the “Convention” via the 3 years ECOWAS - EU Small Arms Project within the broader context of “Disarmament and Community Development” or “Weapons for Development” in the Sahel Region and the Mano River Basin.
The project component covering Liberia, specifically Grand Gedeh, River Gee, and Maryland Counties, will significantly contribute to the development of the community and its inhabitants, the maintenance of peace and peace-building, and the safety and security of Liberia and the sub-region.
The ECOWAS-EU Small Arms Project entails voluntary weapons surrender by civilians in the targeted communities which, by so doing constitutes a violation of the laws of the Republic of Liberia, and for which the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms (LiNCSA) requests a form of dispensation for members of the targeted communities to be exempted from any security and legal scrutiny or actions, and to also ensure the confidentiality of identity for persons reporting weapons under the project.