BUFFALO, N.Y. – The former leader of the Liberian Peace Council (LPC) who committed human rights abuses during the Liberian civil war in the 1990s was deported to his native country Friday, capping an effort by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to investigate the case and win the former warlord's removal from the United States.
George Saigbe Boley, 62, formerly of Hilton, N.Y., arrived in Monrovia, Liberia, at approximately 7:30 p.m. GMT (3:30 p.m. EDT). Boley, the leader of the LPC during the Liberian civil war, was found by an immigration judge Feb. 6, 2012 to be removable from the United States. This was 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 with the Executive Office for Immigration Review – a component of the U.S. Department of Justice – 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.
"George Boley's removal is a major step in addressing the serious human rights abuses Mr. Boley perpetrated in Liberia in the 1990s," said ICE Director John Morton. "The United States has always welcomed refugees and those fleeing oppression, but we will not be a safe haven for human rights violators and war criminals. George Boley's removal is the first ever U.S. deportation based on the use of child soldiers in war, and represents the culmination of extensive efforts by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents, Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers and ICE attorneys to vindicate the rights of those who suffered at Mr. Boley's hands during the Liberian Civil War."
Various organizations have reported that the LPC engaged in serious human rights abuses against the civilian population. The 1995 U.S. Department of State report on Human Rights Practices in Liberia documented credible reports that Boley authorized the extrajudicial executions of seven of his soldiers in 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 and deportation was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in Buffalo. ICE's Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) Office of Chief Counsel Buffalo handled the administrative removal proceedings leading to the immigration judge's decision. These offices were 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 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. Tips may be provided anonymously.
Since fiscal year 2004, ICE has arrested more than 200 individuals for human rights-related violations under various criminal and/or immigration statutes. During that same period, ICE obtained deportation orders and physically removed more than 400 known or suspected human rights violators from the United States. Currently, HSI has more than 200 active investigations and ICE is pursuing more than 1,900 leads and removal cases involving suspected human rights violators from nearly 95 different countries.