MONROVIA — Liberia's ex-warlord Prince Johnson, who was once filmed drinking beer as his men tortured a former president to death, was on Wednesday given the green light to run for president next year.
"The National Union for Democratic Progress has fulfilled the conditions to become a legal party," said James Fromayan, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Party secretary Emmanuel Lomax accepted the certificate granting the NUDP legal status on behalf of Johnson who is out of the country, calling it "a great victory".
"Some people will say that your candidate Prince Johnson, fought war. We all know the true story. That true story is that politicians including president Sirleaf, were the ones who planned this war, and they used us to do the dirty work."
The former warlord, who was elected senator of Nimba county in the 2005 elections, will stand against incumbent President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson and soccer star turned politician George Weah in the November vote.
Johnson became known for gruesome acts during Liberia's successive civil wars between 1989 and 2003, which devastated the west African country and left some 250,000 dead.
In 1990 he was filmed sipping a beer as his men tortured ousted president Samuel Doe, cutting off his ears and eventually killing him.
Johnson is listed alongside former president Charles Taylor in a Truth and Reconciliation Commission report as a warlord who should be brought to justice for war crimes.
Sirleaf's name was also among those on a list of people the TRC accused of having been the financiers and supporters of the different warring factions in Liberia.
She has announced she will seek a second term in power in the 2011 election, despite initially vowing to step down after only one, and has received strong support from the United States.
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