Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Ebola quarantine and military justice in Liberia

The Armed Forces of Liberia have meted out minor punishments to a junior officer and four enlisted members following an incident in which they opened fire on a crowd in the West Point area during an Ebola quarantine-related disturbance. Voice of America reports:
Soldiers opened fire and used tear gas on residents as they tried to stop the government from evacuating their commissioner during the Ebola quarantine of the community. 
One person, a 16-year old boy, was killed and several others were wounded. A military disciplinary board found platoon commander Lt. Aloysius Quaye and four other soldiers guilty of failing to follow proper military procedures.
[Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Daniel] Ziakhan said their punishment will range from reduction in rank, forfeiture of two-thirds of Quaye’s salary for three months and 30 days detention.
"You know, military law all around will tell you that, as a platoon leader, you are responsible for what your platoon does, or failed to do. What happened here is that the platoon leader was a First Lieutenant. He has been reduced from First Lieutenant to Second Lieutenant. He will be put in jail; he will lose two-thirds of his salary for a few months, and then, of course, he will lose two months of seniority,” he said.
Ziakhan said the punishment for the four enlisted soldiers will be determined based on the gravity of the crimes they committed. But, he added that it will include a reduction in rank, 30 days in detention and letters of reprimand.
He said the punishment is in line with the [Liberian] Uniform Code of Military Justice.
There are some Liberians who believe the soldiers are being made scapegoats for the military’s overall incompetence and indiscipline.
*  *  *
Ziakhan said the punishment is commensurate with the crime. He cited the case of the 2004 Iraq Abu Ghraib prison scandal, which involved physical, psychological, and sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners by the U.S. military.  
Ziakhan said General Janis Karpinski, the commander of Abu Ghraib, was only demoted for his [sic] lack of oversight regarding the abuse.
“General Karpinski was never put on a firing squad. His [sic] rank was reduced,” Ziakhan pointed out.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are subject to moderation and must be submitted under your real name. Anonymous comments will not be posted (even though the form seems to permit them).