Monrovia 15th October 2014: The Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding, (CEMESP) has complained the offices of Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia for denying it access to the West Point shooting Incident Investigation report.
In a letter of complaint to the Independent Information Commissioner of Liberia, CEMESP is seeking arbitration into the denied FOI request made to the AFL leadership for disclosure of the West Point shooting incident investigation report.
CEMESP’s action is backed by the Liberia freedom of Information Act of 2010
In their denial response to the request of CEMESP Defense Minister Brownie Samukai, said the Armed Forces of Liberia leadership could not provide a copy of the report on grounds that it does not fall within the vertical chain of command of the AFL
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had submitted the said report to the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia for disciplinary action to be meted out to those found culpable.
CEMESP Executive Director Malcolm Joseph says the denial reflects a misunderstanding of the FOI Act of 2010 with primacy beyond sectors not excluding the Armed Forces.
He said the suggestion that the West Point shooting Incident investigation report cannot be released to CEMESP because the organization is outside the vertical chain of command of the AFL suggests that the Army is precluding itself from the jurisdiction of the FOI Law.
Mr. Joseph argued that the findings of an investigative report on a human rights violation of the magnitude of killing a citizen must not be subsumed under security sensitive prohibitive clause.
The CEMESP Boss furthered that, after exhausting internal review process as stipulated in chapter 6, section 6.2 of the Liberia FOI Act, he wants the Independent Information Commissioner Cllr. Bedor -Wla Freman to use his good offices in proving interpretation on the issues at stake.
“It is expected that this approach will compel disclosure of the West Point shooting Incident report in the custody of the Armed Forces of Liberia” Mr Joseph is quoted as saying.
Malcolm W. Joseph