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United Kingdom Asylum and Immigration Tribunal
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Cite as:  UKAIT 00151,  UKAIT 151,  UKIAT 00151
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AS (Rule 30.1: when reply required) Liberia  UKAIT 00151
Date of hearing: 25.10.2005
Date Determination notified: 27 October 2005
John Freeman (a senior immigration judge)
Keith Kimnell (an immigration judge) and
|Secretary of State for the Home Department||RESPONDENT|
(This case is reported only for the point in the keyword: see § 10.)
Given that the appellant was working in a plantation he would have had contact with large numbers of people and would be in a position to acquire information which could be passed to Government soldiers. When the rebels started attacking the village again, it is plausible that they would have accepted that the appellant collaborated with Government soldiers. The appellant was asked at the Hearing how the rebels would have known that he was passing information to Government soldiers. The appellant did not attempt to offer any explanation and simply stated that he didn't know. However he did suggest that they might have received this from relatives or others.
I accept that in general it would be safe for many refugees to be returned [sc. to Monrovia] However the appellant worked in a large plantation where he came into contact with a large number of people. It is likely that some of those people he worked with were aware that he was passing information to Government soldiers.
The adjudicator does not explain exactly why this should now put the appellant at risk in government-controlled territory; but that conclusion is supported by Miss McRae with reference to background evidence. First there is the extract from Amnesty International's annual report on Liberia, 25 May 2005, which refers to
power struggles within the National Transitional Government of Liberia, which comprised representatives of the former government of Liberia and of the two armed opposition groups, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL), as well as by internal leadership disputes within the LURD.
The 1996 peace accord granted a general amnesty to faction fighters for abuses committed "in the course of actual military engagements." Those responsible for committing some of the worst atrocities during the war were neither punished for their actions nor effectively demobilized. For the next six years at least, former faction fighters particularly of [former President Charles] Taylor's faction, the NPFL continued to act with impunity and remained a serious impediment to continued peace. Human Rights Watch believes that the failure to adequately [sic] ensure justice for past crimes had catastrophic consequences for civilians and greatly contributed to Liberia's failed transition in 1997.
In Liberia currently, the continued existence of the command and control structures of the former factions means that former commanders can mobilize ex-fighters quickly. The continued impunity of those commanders who committed or organized the most serious atrocities during the war could well serve to embolden them and undermine Liberia's chances of lasting peace and stability.
Since at least 1980, Liberian police officers were reputed to be not only corrupt but also prone to commit criminal acts against Liberian citizens. During both wars, members of the Liberian police, especially those within special elite police units, were frequently involved in the targeting and repression of civilians accused of supporting armed insurgencies.
There is further evidence at p 12 about the number of police officers and applicants negatively reported on for their past conduct by the United Nations Mission in Liberia [UNMIL] human rights section (large), and the number disqualified for human rights abuses by UNMIL's civilian police component [CIVPOL].
a) while working in the up-country plantation from 2001-03, have had information of interest to Government soldiers; and
b) would in early 2003 have been suspected by the rebels of collaborating with them; and
c) would still in late 2005 be the object of their ire and malevolence over it; and
d) would, despite the current preoccupations of the LURD, incur their active hostility over it in Monrovia.
As both the appellant and the adjudicator acknowledged, there was no evidence at all of how the rebels might have developed their suspicions, which the adjudicator derives from the fact of the appellant working on a plantation, apparently with many others. There is no suggestion that he was interrogated in any way following his capture in the attack on his village in January 2003, so nothing to show that what was apparently a bungled attempt to shoot him was an act of vengeance directed against him personally, rather than simply part of the general notorious savagery of the Liberian civil war.
at present undergoing lengthy and rather complicated corrective surgery It would certainly make no sense at all to send him home half way through his treatment. Hopefully at the end of the treatment he will have a limb that is back towards its normal length and alignment. It will be weak to start with and it will be a rather long and hard job to try and regain the range of movement in his knee, which has become rather stiff. I would expect therefore a fairly lengthy course of physiotherapy after the external fixator frame has been removed, which will probably be towards the end of the year or early next year.
The original Tribunal made a material error of law and the above decision is accordingly substituted.
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