All parties to the continuing civil war were responsible for deliberate killings of civilians. Forces loyal to the interim government in Monrovia massacred 600 people - mainly women, children and old people - in June. Two soldiers were reported to have been executed after conviction by court-martial. Fighting continued in the first half of the year between the multinational forces of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Ceasefire Monitoring Group - known as ECOMOG - and the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), headed by Charles Taylor. The ECOMOG forces were supported in the field by the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), the former national army under President Samuel Doe, which was reinstated by the Interim Government of National Unity in Monrovia in 1992. They were also supported by the United Liberation Movement for Democracy in Liberia (ULIMO), an armed group founded in 1991 by former AFL members. By May ECOMOG forces had taken control from the NPFL of key installations outside Monrovia, the capital. Hundreds of civilians died when ECOMOG forces bombed and strafed NPFL areas, and thousands fled. ECOMOG aircraft made a number of attacks on border posts in Côte d'Ivoire and on international aid vehicles and their occupants. In May ECOWAS stopped all international aid agencies from entering NPFL-controlled territory from Côte d'Ivoire, accusing them of smuggling arms and fuel to the NPFL. Aid was not resumed until August and was then obstructed by continued disagreement over its distribution. Hundreds of civilians in NPFL territory were reported to have died from malnutrition and disease. In December aid agencies withdrew from Lofa County in northwest Liberia after their refugee camp at Vahun was looted by ULIMO troops. On 25 July a peace agreement was signed by parties to the conflict, under the aegis of ECOWAS, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the UN in Cotonou, Benin. It provided for a cease-fire and disarmament, to be supervised by an expanded ECOMOG force and the UN, for the release of prisoners, and for the establishment of a joint transitional government until elections in 1994. The agreement contained no specific human rights guarantees and no mechanisms for monitoring the human rights situation or investigating human rights violations. It provided for an amnesty which could be interpreted to benefit those responsible for human rights violations, war crimes or crimes against humanity. In August the first members of the UN Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL), in all expected to number 600, started to arrive. In late December the ECOMOG force was expanded by the arrival of the first troops from countries in eastern and southern Africa. However, by the end of the year none of the warring factions had begun to disarm; cease-fire violations were occurring, including the movement of troops and the obstruction and looting of humanitarian assistance; and hundreds of prisoners had not been released. Members of a joint transitional government had been named but disagreement continued over the appointment of key ministers. New armed factions emerged which were not party to the peace agreement. In October the Liberian Peace Council, a new armed group mostly comprising members of former President Samuel Doe's Krahn ethnic group, took control of parts of southeastern Liberia from the NPFL. In November and December another new armed group, the Lofa Defense Force, contested control with ULIMO of several towns in Lofa County. Forces supporting the Interim Government carried out hundreds of extrajudicial executions. Although ECOMOG troops were not implicated directly in these killings, they were alleged to have been involved in some individual instances of abuse. In January ECOMOG soldiers beat and injured a British Broadcasting Corporation journalist in Monrovia, John Vambo, apparently because he had criticized ECOMOG in his reports. In September the Criminal Court refused a writ of habeas corpus in the case of Peter Bonnah Jallah, detained without charge or trial by ECOMOG since November 1992 on suspicion of involvement in the October 1992 attack on Monrovia by the NPFL. The court accepted that he was held as a prisoner of war, despite the terms of the peace accord. Although ECOMOG disarmed and expelled AFL and ULIMO troops from Monrovia in March following complaints of harassment and looting, AFL and ULIMO soldiers continued to detain, beat and rob civilians and to kill those suspected of supporting the NPFL as they took over NPFL areas. AFL soldiers were identified as responsible for the extrajudicial execution in January of Brian Garnham, manager of a research laboratory near Robertsfield. The Interim Government set up a committee of inquiry which included the Minister of National Defense, and in April five soldiers were charged with disciplinary offences. An AFL court-martial dismissed charges against one and the four other cases had not proceeded by the end of the year. ULIMO reportedly executed eight of its fighters in February for looting and harassing civilians. However, other ULIMO abuses went unpunished. In February, 13 elders at Haindi were held responsible for the drowning of a ULIMO commander, and extrajudicially executed. Towns and villages were burned as ULIMO contested control of Lofa County in March. Those summarily executed included 14 young men in Zorzor suspected of supporting the NPFL. Refugees who fled to neighbouring Guinea were reportedly either forcibly returned to Liberia or executed in Guinea after perfunctory investigations by an illegal tribunal of Liberian exiles based in Macenta and apparently linked to ULIMO. In July ULIMO was alleged to have extrajudicially executed as many as 300 members of the Lorma ethnic group in Voinjama who opposed their control of the town. In October ULIMO fighters reportedly killed large numbers of people from the Kissi ethnic group in Foya district. In November, after thousands of refugees had fled from fighting in Sierra Leone into Lofa County, ULIMO forces reportedly took prisoner about 300 of them, on suspicion of being supporters of the Revolutionary United Front, an armed group in rebellion against the Sierra Leone government and in alliance with the Liberian NPFL. In December about 20 people in neighbouring Guinea were killed in attacks by ULIMO on villages suspected of supplying NPFL combatants. In September a UN inquiry found that the AFL had been responsible for the extrajudicial executions of nearly 600 unarmed civilians - mostly women, children and elderly people - at displaced people's camps near Harbel in June. Immediately after the massacre the Interim Government, the AFL and ECOMOG claimed that the NPFL was responsible, despite NPFL denials. The UN Security Council called for an investigation into the killings and the UN Secretary-General established a Panel of Inquiry which visited Liberia in August. The investigation concluded that the AFL, not the NPFL, had planned and carried out the killings, and that there had been a deliberate attempt to implicate the NPFL and to cover up the AFL's responsibility. The panel called for a criminal investigation and prosecution of those responsible. However, the Interim Government requested further evidence from the Panel of Inquiry before proceeding with charges against three AFL soldiers named in the Panel of Inquiry's report, and no one had been brought to justice by the end of the year. In December, 800 captured NPFL fighters held by the Interim Government at Monrovia Central Prison were reported to be suffering severe malnutrition and medical neglect; five were said to have died. Most had been held since being taken prisoner during the NPFL attack on Monrovia in late 1992. The Interim Government ordered an internal investigation but its outcome was not known by the end of the year. Two unnamed soldiers were reportedly executed in January after being convicted of looting by an AFL court-martial. NPFL forces also continued to detain, beat and kill civilians deliberately, accusing them of supporting rival armed groups. When ECOMOG forces took Buchanan in April, civilians who refused to flee with the NPFL were apparently killed by NPFL soldiers. In May, in an attack on Fasama, a town under ULIMO control, about 200 civilians were reportedly killed indiscriminately by NPFL soldiers. In August and September there were reports of NPFL attacks on Liberian refugees in camps close to the border in Côte d'Ivoire or as they returned to tend their crops in southeastern Liberia. Several were reportedly killed. In October the NPFL was accused of killing civilians in the course of conflict with ULIMO for control of Lofa and Bong Counties. In November the NPFL detained UN aid workers for several days, accusing them of spying. They were released uncharged. In October Sierra Leonean Revolutionary United Front forces were reported to have killed civilians in Lofa county on suspicion of supporting opposing forces. Also in October Liberian Peace Council fighters reportedly killed civilians in Sinoe County in the southeast who refused to join them and, in December, nine church ministers in Greenville after accusing them of being "anti-Krahn". Following the Harbel massacre in June, Amnesty International made a renewed appeal to all parties to the conflict to respect human rights and observe international humanitarian standards. The organization urged all sides to issue clear public orders to their troops not to kill or torture prisoners or non-combatants. In December Amnesty International publicly called for those responsible for human rights abuses during the conflict to be brought to justice and for effective measures to protect human rights to be incorporated into the peace process.
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