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Human Rights Violators
02/06/2012

Immigration judge orders Liberian human rights violator removed based on his use of child soldiers

First time ICE has used the recruitment and use of child soldiers charge

WASHINGTON — An immigration judge in Batavia, N.Y. earlier today ordered removed from the United States the former leader of the Liberian Peace Council (LPC) for his role in human rights abuses committed during the Liberian civil war in the 1990s. This is the first time in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) history that an individual has been charged under the Immigration and Nationality Act's recruitment and use of child soldiers ground of inadmissibility.

George Saigbe Boley, 62, of Hilton, N.Y., the leader of LPC during the Liberian civil war, was found by an immigration judge to be removable from the United States. Boley's case represents the first removal order obtained by ICE under the authorities of the Child Soldiers Accountability Act of 2008, which added the recruitment and use of child soldiers as a ground of inadmissibility to and deportability from the United States. The immigration judge also found Boley inadmissible based upon the government's charge of commission of extrajudicial killings in Liberia in the 1990s and that Boley had abandoned his lawful permanent resident status.

"This historic immigration judge's ruling is the culmination of extensive efforts by Homeland Security Investigations special agents and ICE attorneys to bring George Boley to justice for his crimes," said ICE Director John Morton. "The United States has always been a place of refuge and freedom from oppression for millions. We must ensure that those who come here seeking freedom and the rule of law do not have to fear that their persecutor may become their neighbor."

Various organizations have reported that the LPC engaged in serious human rights abuses against the civilian population. The 1995 United States Department of State report on Human Rights Practices in Liberia documented credible reports that Boley authorized the extrajudicial executions of seven of his soldiers on Nov. 14, 1995. According to witnesses who testified before Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 1994, the LPC burned dozens of captives and village inhabitants accused of witchcraft activities in a Liberian village. Other TRC witnesses also testified that in 1995, the LPC massacred 27 inhabitants in an attack on a village – ordering them to lie down before they slit their throats with cutlasses and raping the women before they killed them.

The investigation was conducted by ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Buffalo. ICE's Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) Chief Counsel's Office in Buffalo, N.Y. handled the administrative removal proceedings leading to the immigration judge's decision. The field office was supported by ICE's Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC), OPLA's Human Rights Law Section and HSI Paris.

The HRVWCC investigates human rights violators, including those who have participated in war crimes and acts of genocide, torture, extrajudicial killings, and the recruitment and use of child soldiers, who try to evade justice by seeking shelter in the United States. These individuals may assume fraudulent identities to enter the country, seeking to blend into communities inside the United States. Members of the public who have information about foreign nationals suspected of engaging in human rights abuses or war crimes are urged to call the ICE tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE (1-866-347-2423) or to complete the agency's online tip form. To learn more about the assistance available to victims in these cases, the public should contact ICE's confidential victim-witness toll-free number at 1-866-872-4973.

HSI has more than 200 active investigations and is pursuing over 1,900 leads and removal cases involving suspects from approximately 95 different countries. These cases are predominantly focused on Central and South America, Haiti, the former Yugoslavia and Africa. They represent cases in various stages of investigation, prosecution or removal proceedings.