The Federal Prison Court docket of Switzerland on Thursday upheld former Liberian warlord Alieu Kosiah’s 20-year jail sentence for struggle crimes and convicted him of crimes towards humanity, the primary such conviction in Switzerland. Kosiah was initially convicted and sentenced for struggle crimes by the Trial Chamber of First Occasion in 2021.
In confirming Kosiah’s 20-year sentence, the Federal Prison Court docket’s Larger Appeals Chamber affirmed his conviction on 21 counts of struggle crimes—together with rape, homicide, and cannibalism—which Kosiah allegedly dedicated throughout the First Liberian Civil Conflict that lasted from 1989 to 1996.
Kosiah appealed his authentic struggle crimes convictions, requesting an acquittal. He denied all the fees, claiming that the allegations towards him had been a part of a conspiracy and that he was not current throughout for purported offenses. Nonetheless, the court docket dominated out the opportunity of a conspiracy towards Kosiah and rejected the declare that he was not current throughout the struggle.
Kosiah, who moved to Switzerland after the struggle, had been dwelling in Switzerland as a everlasting resident. He was arrested in 2014 in Switzerland on the idea of a 2011 Swiss law that permits people to be prosecuted for struggle crimes dedicated worldwide beneath the authorized precept of common jurisdiction.
Balkees Jarrah, Affiliate Director of the Worldwide Justice Program at Human Rights Watch (HRW), described the decision as a “landmark step for Liberians” that serves as “a breakthrough for Liberian victims and the Swiss justice system in cracking the wall of impunity.”
Whereas Liberia noticed violations of worldwide human rights and humanitarian legislation throughout the Liberian civil wars, the nation has not prosecuted anybody or instituted a struggle crimes court docket. As Jarrah acknowledged, whereas “[u]niversal jurisdiction circumstances could be a important – albeit slim – path to justice for victims who’ve nowhere else to show… Switzerland ought to construct on the Kosiah trial and pursue related circumstances, however Liberian authorities bear the first duty to fill the huge accountability hole for brutal crimes dedicated throughout the nation’s civil wars.”