Bellinzona — All seven Liberians who filed the war crimes lawsuit against Alieu Kosiah in Switzerland are asking for 8,000 Swiss Francs or roughly LD1.5 million each in compensation.
"In Switzerland, they would have been entitled to 100,000 Swiss francs for moral injury," said Alain Werner, one of the lawyers, in his final argument before the Swiss Federal. "As the cost of living in Liberia is 12 times lower, we are claiming 8,000 Swiss Francs in compensation for each of our constituents."
Six of the seven plaintiffs were flown in from Liberia and testified before the court's three-judge panel for two weeks, beginning February 15. They have since been flown back to Liberia. The lone female testified via videoconference from an undisclosed location. New Narratives has reached an agreement with court not to name any of the plaintiffs and any other witnesses in this trial over concerns of their safety.
They are least likely to get the money as the request is only symbolic and meant to follow Swiss legal procedure. Also, Kosiah does not have such an amount.
The plaintiffs accuse Kosiah, a former commander of the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO), murder, cannibalism, rape, sexual enslavement, forced transportation, looting and inscription of child-soldier between 1993 and 1995. He denies all the charges against him, saying he was not in Lofa when the alleged offenses were committed.
Kosiah was arrested in 2014, indicted in 2019 and his trial started in Bellinzona last December. Prosecution, plaintiffs and defense lawyers will argument throughout this week, and a date of the verdict will be announced at the end of Friday.
He faces a maximum 20-year imprisonment term.
The 'most ruthless'
The Lawyers said he is the "most ruthless" ULIMO fighter in their final argument on Tuesday in the closing stages of a trial that has produced an array of former ULIMO rebels and tales of unspeakable horror.
Their pleadings followed that of prosecution lawyer Andreas Müller on Monday, who asked presiding Judge Jean-Luc Bacher give Kosiah the maximum sentence and expel him from Swiss soil for 15.