The case was additionally Switzerland’s first war crimes trial in a civilian courtroom. It concerned 46-year-old Alieu Kosiah who glided by the nom de guerre “bluff boy” in the rebel faction ULIMO that fought former President Charles Taylor’s military in the Nineteen Nineties.
Kosiah confronted 25 expenses together with one the place he was accused of consuming slices of a person’s coronary heart. He was convicted of that and all however 4 of the opposite counts, paperwork from the Swiss Federal Court confirmed.
He was arrested in 2014 in Switzerland, the place he had been residing as a everlasting resident. A 2011 Swiss regulation permits prosecution for severe crimes dedicated wherever, underneath the precept of common jurisdiction.
A plaintiff in the case who testified that Kosiah ordered his brother’s homicide urged different Liberians to return ahead as witnesses and safe extra convictions.
“If you set an example, the other guys will be afraid,” he mentioned in a press release by way of the NGO Civitas Maxima that represented him. He requested to not be named in media reviews for worry of reprisals.
Liberia has ignored stress to prosecute crimes from its back-to-back wars between 1989-2003, in which 1000’s of kid troopers turned sure up in energy tussles exacerbated by ethnic rivalry.
Human Rights Watch referred to as Friday’s sentencing a “landmark.”
“Switzerland’s efforts on this case should help mobilize wider accountability in Liberia as this shows that these crimes can be prosecuted. I see this as an opportunity,” the group’s Elise Keppler mentioned.
Activists in the Liberian capital Monrovia celebrated the decision. “This will serve as a deterrent for others around the world. I think justice has taken its course,” mentioned Dan Sayeh, a civil society campaigner.
Kosiah had denied all the fees and advised the courtroom he was a minor when first recruited into the battle. His lawyer didn’t instantly reply to an emailed request for touch upon the sentence.
Kosiah was cleared on Friday of tried homicide of a civilian, accent to the homicide of a civilian, an order to loot and recruitment of a kid soldier.
The courtroom mentioned that the 20-year sentence was the utmost it was allowed to offer underneath Swiss regulation.
“No mitigating circumstances were taken into account in the sentencing. A deportation from Switzerland was also ordered for a period of 15 years,” it mentioned. Kosiah was additionally ordered to pay compensation to seven plaintiffs, it added.
It was not instantly clear when the deportation would happen. The roughly 6-1/2 years that Kosiah has already served in pre-trial detention will rely in direction of the sentence, the courtroom papers confirmed.
Charles Taylor was sentenced for war crimes in 2012, however solely for acts in neighboring Sierra Leone. His son, Chuckie, was sentenced for torture in Liberia by a US courtroom in 2009.