Heart Eater – Liberian commander Alieu Kosiah jailed in Switzerland for killings, rape and eating hearts


A Liberian insurgent commander has been sentenced to twenty years jail in Switzerland for crimes together with rape, killings and an act of cannibalism, in one of many first ever convictions over the West African nation’s civil conflict.

The case was additionally Switzerland’s first conflict crimes trial in a civilian courtroom. It concerned 46-yr-previous Alieu Kosiah who glided by the identify “bluff boy” in the insurgent faction ULIMO that fought former President Charles Taylor’s military in the Nineties.

Kosiah confronted 25 expenses together with one the place he was accused of eating 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 present.

He was arrested in 2014 in Switzerland, the place he had been residing as a everlasting resident.

A 2011 Swiss regulation permits prosecution for critical crimes dedicated anyplace, below the precept of common jurisdiction.

A plaintiff in the case who testified that Kosiah ordered his brother’s homicide urged different Liberians to come back ahead as witnesses and safe extra convictions.

“If you set an example, the other guys will be afraid,” he mentioned in an announcement.

He requested to not be named in media experiences for worry of reprisals.

A Liberian family takes home furniture in April 1996
Liberia has dismissed stress to prosecute crimes for its civil wars.(AFP: Christophe Simon)

Liberia has ignored stress to prosecute crimes from its again-to-again wars between 1989-2003, in which hundreds of kid troopers grew to become certain 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.

‘Justice has taken its course’

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 Dmitri Gianoli mentioned in an e-mail to Reuters that Kosiah was “very disappointed” by the courtroom’s determination, saying it had succumbed to media and political stress.

Switzerland's national flag is displayed on the Swiss Federal Criminal Court
The courtroom sentenced Kosiah to a most of 20 years in jail, the very best below Swiss regulation.(Reuters: Emma Farge)

“Mr Alieu Kosiah will pursue his fight for justice to be served.”

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-yr sentence was the utmost it was allowed to provide below Swiss regulation.

Kosiah was additionally ordered to pay compensation to seven plaintiffs, it added.

A courtroom spokesman later clarified that he wouldn’t be expelled earlier than his sentence was served.

The roughly six and a half 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 conflict crimes in 2012, however solely for acts in neighbouring Sierra Leone. His son, Chuckie, was sentenced for torture in Liberia by a US courtroom in 2009.


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