War crimes trial against Liberian rebel commander Kunti Kamara commences in France News
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War crimes trial against Liberian rebel commander Kunti Kamara commences in France

The Parisian Court of Appeals Monday commenced the trial of Kunti Kamara on charges of crimes against humanity, torture and acts of barbarity. Kamara allegedly committed these acts as a member of the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO) in 1993 and 1994 during the First Liberian Civil War. He denies all allegations.

On Monday, Presiding Judge Fusina introduced Kamara and the alleged crimes. Kamara’s lawyer Marilyne Secci asserted her client’s innocence once again. When questioned as to whether he knows the witnesses, Kamara responded, “I don’t know them today, I don’t know them tomorrow.” He did admit that he was a member of ULIMO.

Kamara was first arrested in France in 2018. He was released in 2019 due to a procedural error and rearrested in January 2020. In November 2o20, an investigating judge requested indictment for Kamara for crimes of torture and barbaric acts. Prosecutors appealed the failure to indict for crimes against humanity, and the investigating chamber of the Court of Appeals ruled to expand the indictment and include charges of crimes against humanity.

Kamara is the third ex-ULIMO general to be indicted for crimes against humanity during the Liberian Civil War. Alieu Kosiah, a former ULIMO commander sentenced to twenty years imprisonment in Switzerland, will also testify at the trial. Alain Werner, the director of Civitas Maxima and a civil party in the case, believes that the trial can set a precedent; Kamara’s is the first extra-territorial trial for international crimes held in France.

The trial has ten jury members and will take place until the November 8.