Crimes against humanity in Liberia: ex-rebel Kunti Kamara sentenced to life imprisonment

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

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The 47-year-old former Liberian militiaman was found guilty of a series of abuses against civilians in 1993-1994. Among these crimes, figure the torture inflicted on a teacher whose he would have eaten the heartr, as well as his policy of general laissez-faire in the face of the repeated rapes of teenage girls by soldiers under his authority.

Arrested in 2018 in France

Kunti Kamara was arrested in 2018 in Bobigny (Seine-Saint-Denis), and he was tried in Paris under the universal jurisdiction of France. This principle allows a country to judge cases of crimes against humanity, even if these have not been committed on its soil. This is the first trial of its kind in France concerning the civil war in Liberia.

“It is very important for the victims to know that abroad these people risk sooner or later being confronted with their past”, assured their lawyer Sabrina Delattre, at the opening of the trial on October 10. In June 2021, another Liberian warlord, Alieu Kosiah, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for war crimes and 15 years deportation from Switzerland, a verdict he is appealing. Another executive of this group, Mohammed Jabateh, was sentenced to 30 years in prison in the United States for perjury.

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Former Liberian President Charles Taylor is serving a 50-year prison sentence in the UK for crimes against humanity committed in neighboring Sierra Leone.

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