Ivorian police officer testifies in mercenary trial

Liberan police officers escort Lieutenant Hotie

Liberan police officers escort Lieutenant Hotie

A lieutenant of the Ivorian police has provided evidence for state lawyers in the trial of 18 Liberians accused of carrying out subversive activities in the Ivory Coast.Lt. Kone Hotie, who served as commanding officer of Para, the scene of the attack, which borders Liberia, last week told a criminal court in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, that his testimony was based on eye witnesses’ accounts, including that of officers assigned after the attack by some Liberians.

His testimony, he admitted, contained information he got from the people of Para, and his officers. Lt. Hotie ended speculation whether or not he was on the scene during the attack by noting that he was not present when the attack took place.
He said in open court that on June 8, 2012 Para was attacked by some Liberians who he failed to identify in court.

The Ivorian police officer made the statement while responding to questions from government and defense lawyers during direct and cross examination.

Commander Hotie informed the court that the attackers killed several people in Para.

According to him when Para was under attack he was informed and later called for troops in order counter the
advancement of the attackers.

Unfortunately, when the combat troops arrived they came under intense fire that saw one of the Ivorian soldiers wounded in his leg.

Lt. Hotie further said seven UN peacekeepers along with Ivorian soldiers where surprisingly armed bush while taking the wounded Ivorian solider away from the scene for treatment.

The Ivorian police officer also presented several photographers that he said he took during the incident as materials to buttress the case of the Liberian government.

The photos were admitted and confirmed into evidence by presiding Judge Henry Paye.

Lt. Hotie also revealed that three Ivorians were arrested during the attack and that said they are presently detained in the Ivory Coast.

The officer, who was key to state lawyers’ evidence in implicating the 18 Liberian in subversive activities in Ivory Coast,  did not name any of the 18 accused Liberians while he responded to questions on the direct and cross examination.

As a result of his testimony,  his cross examination was the shortest in the history of the case so far, to the surprise of many in the court.  

He implicated six of the defendants to the war in Ivory Coast.The  defendants indicted in 2011 and 2012 on multiple offenses ranging from mercenarism, murder, rape, arson and theft of property. They deny the charges.

The six-page indictment said that during post-election violence in December 2010 in Ivory Coast, that led to the arrest of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, the defendants joined some Ivorians to cause trouble in the West African state.

Story & photo: Peter N. Toby