Facebook icon
Twitter icon
e-mail icon

Liberian rebel commander arrested for war crimes in Belgium


A former commander of Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) was arrested in Belgium last Wednesday, accused of committing war crimes during Liberia’s civil war, reports the BBC.


A complaint was made against Martina Johnson for her role in the Operation Octopus offensive, where she is accused of committing “mutilation and mass killing”.


The arrest has been welcomed by rights groups, who have long criticised the Liberian authorities' failure to investigate and prosecute individuals who committed crimes during the civil war.


“The rebel forces for which Martina Johnson was a commander committed horrific abuses against civilians during Liberia’s first civil war, but not one person has ever been held to account for the crimes,” said Elise Keppler, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement by the rights organisation.

“Johnson’s indictment in Belgium is a major step to ensure justice is done for the abuses against Liberian civilians,” she added.


Johnson is to be produced before court in Belgium Friday, where it is expected the terms of her detention will be determined.

We need your support

Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. Tamil journalists are particularly at threat, with at least 41 media workers known to have been killed by the Sri Lankan state or its paramilitaries during and after the armed conflict.

Despite the risks, our team on the ground remain committed to providing detailed and accurate reporting of developments in the Tamil homeland, across the island and around the world, as well as providing expert analysis and insight from the Tamil point of view

We need your support in keeping our journalism going. Support our work today.