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ex-rebel Kunti Kamara sentenced to life for crimes against humanity

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Kunti Kamara, a former rebel commander suspected of acts of barbarism, rape and summary executions during Liberia’s first civil war was sentenced to life imprisonment on Wednesday after an unprecedented trial in France.

The Paris Assize Court on Wednesday (November 2nd) sentenced ex-rebel commander Kunti Kamara to life imprisonment for acts of barbarism during Liberia’s first civil war and for being an accomplice in crimes against the humanity by facilitating rape.

After an unprecedented trial in France, this 47-year-old former Liberian militiaman was found guilty of a series of abuses against civilians in 1993-1994, including the torture inflicted on a teacher whose blood he allegedly ate. heart and his passivity in the face of the repeated rapes of two teenage girls by soldiers placed under his authority.

At the statement of the verdict, delivered after nine hours of deliberation, the accused, bald head and full mustache, remained impassive.

The court thus followed the requisitions of the public prosecutor who had claimed life imprisonment against him, castigating crimes that had “damaged all of humanity”. The defense had pleaded acquittal on all the facts, denouncing “gaps” in a file based on old testimonies.

A judgment under “universal jurisdiction”

Arrested in Bobigny in September 2018, Kunti Kamara appeared in Paris under the “universal jurisdiction” exercised, under certain conditions, by France to try the most serious crimes committed outside its soil. This is the first time that this mechanism has been used for acts committed in a country other than Rwanda.

At the time of the First Liberian Civil War (1989-1997), Kunti Kamara was part of the United Liberation Movement for Democracy (Ulimo) which fought against the rival militia of the feared Charles Taylor and brought terror to the Foya district. (North West).

During the three weeks of trial, plaintiffs and witnesses from Liberia described unspeakable atrocities: residents murdered by gulping down boiling water, the trade in human meat, intestines used as checkpoints.

Kunti Kamara, who had obtained political asylum in the Netherlands after lying about his past, was arrested in September 2018 in Bobigny after the complaint of the NGO Civitas Maxima, which fights against impunity. His name had arisen in the mid-2010s in the context of proceedings initiated in Switzerland against another Ulimo executive, Alieu Kosiah, who was sentenced in Geneva in 2021 to twenty years in prison in the very first trial of the Liberian war crimes.

>> To (re) see: The conviction of warlord Alieu Kosiah, a double victory for lawyer Alain Werner

The crimes of this bloody conflict, which killed a total of 250,000 people, have never been tried in Liberia, where former rebel leaders now hold high positions in the state apparatus.

With AFP

France 24-Trans

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