Ongoing proceedings for international crimes committed in Liberia between 1993 and 1997
Type of jurisdiction
Kunti Kamara, Dutch and Liberian national, former commander of the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO).
Country of residence of suspect
Torture, barbaric acts and complicity in these crimes; crimes against humanity
Convicted; sentenced to life imprisonment; detained; awaiting appeal
The ULIMO rebel group was formed during the first Liberian civil war (1989-1996) to fight former Liberian President Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia.
According to the judgment, in his capacity as a ULIMO commander, Kunti Kamara committed the crimes against humanity of murder, enslavement, torture and cannibalism in Lofa County between 1993 and 1997.
On 23 July 2018, the NGO Civitas Maxima filed a complaint in the name of Liberian victims before the French Specialized Unit for the prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture within the Paris Tribunal (integrated in 2019 within the newly created French National Anti-Terrorist Prosecution Office). On 4 September 2018, Kamara was arrested by the French police and remanded in custody. On 6 September 2019, he was released from pre-trial detention after a procedural error.
In early January 2020, Kamara was returned to prison after failing to fulfill an obligation related to his release, namely to live at an address known to and agreed upon by the judge.
On 26 November 2020, the investigative judge charged Kamara while under investigation (mis en examen) for the crimes of torture, barbaric acts and complicity in torture and aggravated acts of barbarism.
In December 2020, the prosecutor appealed the failure to charge Kamara for crimes against humanity. The investigating chamber ruled in favor of the prosecutor and expanded the charges to include crimes against humanity in addition to crimes of torture and acts of barbarism. In April 2021, the investigating chamber of the Paris Court of Appeals confirmed the referral to trial.
Developments in 2022
The trial of Kamara began on 10 October and ended on 2 November 2022 before the Paris Criminal Court. After 17 days of trial during which 27 witnesses and experts and 10 civil parties were heard, Kamara was found guilty as an accomplice of the crime against humanity of torture for the rape and sexual slavery committed by his subordinates on particularly vulnerable people. He was further found guilty as a perpetrator of acts of torture and barbarism, by subjecting a man to severe suffering and participating in the public eating of his heart, executing a sick woman accused of witchcraft who had just lost her baby, subjecting two men to forced labor under inhumane conditions and torturing a civilian. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. He appealed the decision.