Swiss court sentenced Liberian terrorists to 20 years in war crimes | | European News
Alieu Kosiah was found guilty of 21 counts, including rape, child labor and embezzlement.
A Swiss court has sentenced Liberian guerrilla leader Alieu Kosiah to 20 years in prison for civil war crimes in the country during the 1990’s, a decision that was well received by human rights activists and human rights groups.
A 46-year-old man has been found guilty of 21 counts of 25 counts, including ordering or participating in the killing of 17 civilians and two unarmed soldiers, documents from the Swiss Federal Court south of Bellinzona were shown on Friday.
He was also found guilty of rape, sending for a child soldier, ordering the confiscation of property, abuse and humiliation of civilians, and cannibalism.
Known for its large number of young troops, the civil war in Liberia – from 1989 to 1997 and 1999 to 2003 – killed at least 250,000 people and left more than a million.
Kosiah was arrested in 2014 in Switzerland, where he has lived since 1999, as a result of his involvement in war crimes between 1993 and 1995 in Lofa County, northwestern Liberia. The 2011 law in Switzerland allows for the prosecution of serious crimes that have occurred anywhere, with the help of the universe.
The court ruled that the 20-year sentence was the maximum amount allowed to be granted in accordance with Swiss law.
“There is nothing wrong with the case. The deportation to Switzerland was also ordered for 15 years, ”he said.
Kosiah was also ordered to pay compensation to seven complainants, he added.
It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. Kosiah’s sentence includes 2,413 days, or about six and a half years, of his pre-trial detention, court documents show.
‘You must not be partial’
Liberals in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, celebrated the ruling.
“This will be a hindrance to others around the world. I think justice has been done, “said Dan Sayeh, a human rights activist.
Jefferson Knight, a Liberian human rights activist, said he hoped the ruling would increase government pressure to form an army, as the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee had recommended years ago.
Kosiah denied all the charges and told the court he was a child when he joined the gang. He was cleared on Friday of trying to kill a civilian, a tool to kill a civilian, a robbery and a search for a child.
Human Rights Watch (HRW), a New York-based civil rights group, he explained Friday’s ruling is “an important milestone for the Liberian people”.
“Twenty years after the incident, the victims played a key role in securing the first conviction for war in Liberia’s civil war,” Balkees Jarrah, an associate lawmaker at HRW, said in a statement.
“This decision is a great help to the victims of Liberia and to Swiss law enforcement agencies in dealing with unpunished violence.”
Former Liberian president-turned-president Charles Taylor was convicted in 2012 of war crimes and crimes against humanity – but only because of the atrocities committed in Sierra Leone, not in his own country.
The verdict handed down to Kosiah marks the first time that a Liberian man has been tried – either in West Africa or elsewhere – during a war.
The case was also the first in a Swiss court case.