“UNLAWFUL, ILLEGAL!!!”-Korean Human Rights Lawyer Describes Detention of Liberian Diplomat

MONROVIA – Credible information from Busan, South Korea where Ambassador Moses Owen Browne, Jr., Permanent Representative of Liberia to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and his colleague, Daniel Tarr, are being held in police detention on allegation of sexual assault, indicate that their arrest is unlawful and illegal and violates international laws.

The Liberian Government Officials were arrested on Thursday, 22 September 2022 at the Asti Busan Hotel at 10pm with women believed to be in their early and late twenties.

Miss Kim Jeung Park, a human rights activist and lawyer seeking to represent the officials said “without any legal representation and formal investigation into the alleged rape case, the Liberian officials were arraigned before a magistrate court on 25 September 2022; where a judge issued formal arrest warrant but refused to release the diplomats on immunities and privileges enjoyed under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961.

“I am following the case religiously and even though I don’t condone any form of sexual violence, I also believe the rights and privileges accorded to these officials must be respected and upheld by the court whilst they are awaiting trial,” Park enjoined, noting that is illegal to arrest and incarcerate a diplomat on diplomatic mission in the receiving state who enjoys inviolability and immunities under article 29 of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

The 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the 1947 Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of Specialized Agency, for which the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is a United Nations Specialized Agency covering these officials of the Liberian government,” Kim Jeung Park said.

Article 6 section 1 of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of Korea states clearly that “treaties, laws and international statutes duly concluded and promulgated under the constitution and generally recognized rules of treaties and customary international laws shall have the same effect as domestic laws of Korea.

These fundamental rights as further guaranteed by the constitution of the Republic of Korea have been violated and the Court must adhere and treat the diplomat with respect and restore his rights and dignity. The court must take appropriate steps to prevent further attacks on the Liberian officials and grant his freedoms from detention.

Ambassador Moses Owen Browne, Jr. and Mr. Daniel Tarr are senior Liberian Government officials invited by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of the Government of the Republic of Korea to participate in a weeklong Green House Gas strategy development for the reduction of GHG emissions from ships. Consequently, they are covered by both the Vienna Convention of 1961 and Convention on International Organizations of 1947.

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