Swiss Conviction of Liberian Rebel Leader a Landmark Step

The Federal Criminal Court of Switzerland has found Alieu Kosiah, 46, guilty of war crimes perpetrated during the first of Liberia's two civil wars, sentencing him to 20 years. Kosiah is charged with 25 counts of war crimes, including murders, forced transports, looting, rape, and recruitment of a child soldier.

Kosiah is a former commander of the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO) faction, a rebel group that participated in the First Liberian Civil War between 1993 and 1996, which fought against the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, led by Charles Taylor.

After the war, Kosiah moved to Switzerland, where he obtained permanent residence. He is the first person to be tried for war crimes in a non-military criminal court in Switzerland and is the first Liberian to be tried and convicted for war crimes committed during the first Liberian civil war. He stood trial in Bellinzona, Switzerland, in December 2020 and in February 2021 for four weeks.

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