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Liberia: 18 years later and still waiting for a war crimes court

By Dounard Bondo
Posted on Tuesday, 6 July 2021 19:57, updated on Tuesday, 20 July 2021 01:45

Liberia's President George Weah attends the plenary session of the Paris Peace Forum on November 12, 2019 in Paris. Credit:Blondet Eliot-POOL/SIPA

Over 250,000 people were killed in Liberia’s civil wars from 1989 to 2003 – but no one, to date, has been tried for war crimes in the country.

On 17 June, a Swiss court sentenced Alieu Kosiah to 20 years’ imprisonment for crimes committed during Liberia’s civil wars.

It was the first time a Swiss court tried war crimes in a non-military court. Kosiah’s sentencing follows the conviction by foreign courts of several others in involved in the country’s civil war.

Finland tries Massaquoi

Gibril Massaquoi, a Sierra Leonean and former spokesman for the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), is on trial in Finland on charges on war crimes committed in Liberia.

Massaquoi’s case points to the complexity of prosecuting these cases: he has earlier been granted immunity for providing some of the critical evidence needed to convict Charles Taylor, the warlord who started Liberia’s civil war in 1989, and several other fighters.