Monrovia — The trial of Mr. Moses Owen Brown, Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and Mr. Daniel Tarr, Director of the Marine Environmental Protection Department of the Liberia Maritime Authority is scheduled to commence on Wednesday, November 30, 2022, in Busan, South Korea.
Messers. Brown and Tarr have been charged with multiple counts of sexual assault and joint illegal confinement by the Office of the Prosecutor, Busan, South Korea. These charges of the two Liberian Officials stemmed out of an incident which occurred on the evening of September 22, 2022, in the Port City of Busan South Korea, while representing the Republic of Liberia at an IMO Training Seminar.
Since the arrest of Messers. Brown and Tarr on these charges, the Republic of Liberia has engaged the Republic of Korea through official diplomatic channels, including transmitting three (3) different diplomatic notes asserting inter alia the diplomatic statuses of the two Liberian Officials. The Republic of Liberia had, upon learning of the arrest of Messers. Brown and Tarr, dispatched a Consular of the Liberian Embassy in Tokyo, Japan (which also covers the Republic of Korea) to ascertain the facts of the alleged incident and to assert Liberia’s claim of diplomatic immunity from criminal prosecution of the two Officials.
In spite of the Republic of Liberia’s assertion of diplomatic immunity of the two Officials, the Republic of Korea has, through diplomatic channels, rejected all claims of immunity, stating that the two Officials were not assigned to Liberia’s Diplomatic Mission to the Republic of Korea nor were the two Officials attending a Diplomatic Conference when the alleged incident occurred in Busan, South Korea.
With this stance taken by the Republic of Korea, the Government of the Republic of Liberia through the Liberia Maritime Authority, with guidance from the Ministry of Justice, dispatched a legal team, headed by its Principal Director of Legal Services, to retain the services of a Korean law firm to provide legal representation for Messers Brown and Tarr. The Republic of Liberia, through the Liberia Maritime Authority, has hired the services of Pureum Law Office, a law firm which specializes in criminal defense of foreign nationals in South Korea. While in South Korea, the Liberian legal team met with Messers. Brown and Tarr at the detention center in the Port City of Busan and confirmed that they were in good health and being accorded appropriate treatment while under detention.
Pureum Law Office has since also met with Messrs. Brown and Tarr on multiple occasions and began to provide legal representation for the two Officials. Messers Brown and Tarr have both denied raping the two Korean ladies and have, under legal guidance from Pureum Law Office, entered a plea of not guilty to all of the charges levied by the South Korean Authorities. The Liberian Legal Team remains engaged with Pureum Law Office to ensure that the two Officials receive adequate legal representation throughout the trial of this case.
Without discounting the gravity of the charges levied against two of its Officials, the Republic of Liberia remains engaged with the Republic of Korea to establish the facts of this case and safeguard the due process rights of Messers. Brown and Tarr. The Republic of Liberia also continues to engage the Republic of Korea through official diplomatic channels to ensure that the two Liberian Officials are accorded rights and privileges consistent with international law.