16.01.15 – LIBERIA/SWITZERLAND – LIBERIAN EX-REBEL LEADER ARRESTED IN SWITZERLAND

Arusha, January 16, 2015 (FH) – A former Liberian rebel leader suspected of crimes committed during his country’s civil war (1989-1996) has been arrested in Switzerland, the Civitas Maxima organization reported Friday.

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In a press release received by Hirondelle News, the organization explained that Alieu Kosiah’s arrest was only announced Thursday, whereas he was detained on November 10.

Kosiah is a former commander of the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy, ULIMO.

He is suspected of participating in war crimes committed in the Lofa district of northwest Liberia between 1993 and 1995.

Victims accuse him of having participated directly in mass crimes, including systematic killings targeting civilians, says Civitas Maxima. ULIMO occupied a large part of Lofa County during this period.

A Swiss judge confirmed Kosiah’s detention on November 13, 2014, for a period of three months.

Most of the seven Liberian victims who filed plaints in Switzerland are assisted by Alain Werner, a Civitas Maxima lawyer and director of the association.

This Swiss NGO has been working since 2012 with the Global Justice and Research Project (GJRP) based in Monrovia to document crimes committed during the Liberian civil war and find resources to obtain justice for the victims.

Kosiah is the first ULIMO leader to be arrested for crimes committed during the Liberian civil war.

This follows the arrest in Belgium in September of Martina Johnson, who was a commander in the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), the former armed group of ex-president Charles Taylor. Taylor was tried by the Special Court for Sierra Leone and was sentenced to 50 years in jail. He is currently serving his sentence in the UK.

ER/ JC