Butt Naked: Liberia War Time General Calls For War Crimes Court

A former fierce commando during the civil crisis and now revered minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Evangelist Joshua Blayee, is calling for all warlords as well as those who provided support to warring factions to face a war crime court in Liberia.

Aliased General “Butt Naked” from his tendency of going naked while in battle, particularly in the April 6, 1996 fracas, Evangelist Blayee has since turned away from his horrid past, running a faith-based organization that caters to the needs of ex-combatants and other needy people.

However, the killer-turned-prelate told a local radio recently in an interview that he could not continue to live with a guilty conscience—that he murdered so many people and is a free man without facing a tribunal or a war crime court.

All sorts of crimes against humanity were committed during the Liberian civil war (1989 – 1990), including recruitment of child solider, rape, enslavement and massacres. And Evangelist Blayee himself admitted to the a Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearing in 2008 that he killed thousands of people from as early as 1982—when he took over the priesthood of a southeastern curt, Yakpehweh—to his most active year in 1996.

“Liberians need to send me and all other warlords to court and those who will be guilty should serve their jail sentence,” he said. “It pains my heart to see those who committed crimes in the country going with impunity and no one is saying anything about those ugly acts that were carried out by us,” he added.

Evangelist Blayee noted that taking him and other warlords to court would serve as deterrent for the current and future generations so that the country does not once more sink down into bloodbath, haunted by cutthroats, hooligans and opportunist politicians.

He claimed if he would be found guilty he would be willing to serve his jail sentence. “It (trying me in court) will help to divert my children’s minds from doing bad things or engaging into activities that will destroy their country,” Evangelist Blayee stressed.

He was quick to point out that though he is now a minister of the Gospel, it could not prevent Liberians from demanding that he is punished for the crimes he committed. The TRC in its 2009 report recommended that Senator Prince Y. Johnson, Alhaji Kromah, Sekou Damante Konneh and Dr. George Boley, amongst many others, face a special tribunal for “bearing the greatest responsibility of war crimes and crimes against humanity” during the course of the civil war that left thousands of Liberians and foreign nationals dead.
The responses of warlords to the TRC reported head in one direction: that the Commission’s report is politically motivated, biased, and does not recognize their contribution to peace in Liberia. But the former ULIMO J commando says it is the other way around.

“Many of the problems that the country is now faced with came from the actions of these warlords, who have now neglected those men that were trained by them and are causing serious problem in the Liberian society,” he said.
Evangelist Blayee thinks that because ex-combatants were the ones who destroyed the country within the 14 years of civil war, they should be the ones to rebuild it, stressing the need for them to be trained in various technical and vocational fields.

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