Jucontee Thomas Smith Woewiyu
08.05.2016 ( Last modified: 04.07.2018 )
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Jucontee Thomas Smith Woewiyu was born in 1946 in Liberia. Woewiyu is one of the co-founders and leader of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia(NPFL).
The NPFL was a military organization lead by Charles Taylor, aiming to overthrow the Doe government. On 24 December 1989, the NPFL entered in Liberia through Côte d’Ivoire. By April 1990, the NPFL controlled 90% of the country.
Woewiyu was the NPFL’s chief spokesperson and negotiator. In the summer of 1990, he also became the Minister of Defence. He held both roles until 1994, when he left the NPFL and formed the formed the splinter National Patriotic Front of Liberia – Central Revolutionary Council (NPFL- CRC). He later returned to the NPFL and served as Labour Minister under Charles Taylor from 1997 to 1999.
The NPFL is accused of many international crimes, including sexual slavery, mass murders and conscription of child soldiers. Woewiyu was allegedly involved in the planning of attacks on civilians, including Operation Octopus in 1992. The operation led to the violent attempted seizure of Monrovia and resulted in the murder of thousands of combatants and civilians; including the executions of five American nuns.
Since January 1972, Woewiyu has legal permanent residence in the United States of America. He applied for the United States citizenship in January 2006.
On 30 January 2014, Woewiyu was placed under investigation for seven counts of crimes of perjury, two counts of fraud related to his immigration papers, akin to Mohammed Jabbateh Woewiyu is accused of having lied on his citizenship application, failing to disclose his association with the NPFL and that he was connected to crimes committed by the NPFL.
On 12 May 2014 Woewiyu was arrested in Newark Airport, as he was returning from Liberia.
In October 2014, bail was paid, and a Federal Judge from Philadelphia granted Woewiyu temporary release before his trial, under the condition that he stayed under house arrest.
The trial begins on 11 June 2018.
On 3 July 2018, he was found guilty of federal immigration fraud. His sentence should be issued in October 2018. Woewiyu faces up to 110 years in prison a fine of four million dollars.
This is the third trial held in the United States in connection with the civil war in Liberia after George Boley and Mohammed Jabbateh trials.
Furthermore, the son of Charles Taylor, Chuckie Taylor, an American citizen was the first person to be judged under the Alien Tort Statute (the American law for civil offences against foreigners) for the crimes he committed in Liberia.