A former Liberian warlord has been ordered to stand trial in France for war crimes committed during the west African country’s bloody 1989-2003 conflict, judicial sources told AFP on Thursday.
Kunti Kamara is accused of torture and complicity in acts of torture during the first of Liberia’s back-to-back civil wars, which together killed some 250,000 people between 1989 and 2003.
He was a regional commander of the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO), a rebel group that fought the National Patriotic Front of ex-president Charles Taylor.
He has also been accused of killing, rape and looting.
The order for him to stand trial comes a week after another Liberian ex-warlord went on trial in neighbouring Switzerland for war crimes — the first Liberian to face prosecution for war crimes either at home or abroad over the conflict.
According to investigators, Kamara headed a ULIMO faction in Lofa county, a strategic area in northwest Liberia.
He was arrested in the Paris area in September 2018.
He denies the charges.
“He’s a scapegoat for crimes committed in Liberia,” his lawyers Tarek Koraitem and Maryline Secci said, declaring there was “no proof” of the crimes of which he is charged.
The case was brought by the crimes against humanity division of the Paris court, which was set up to 2012 to try suspected perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide detained on French soil, irrespective of where their alleged crimes were committed.
This is the first case taken by the unit that is not related to the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Simon Foreman, lawyer for the Civitas Maxima NGO which seeks international justice for victims of grave crimes, hailed Kamara’s prosecution as a win “for the fight against impunity in Liberia” which has yet to prosecute suspects over the atrocities during the civil war.
Civitas Maxima has joined the case as a civil plaintiff, along with eight of Kamara’s alleged victims.
Source: Yahoo News