Rights groups have praised the conviction in Paris of former Liberian rebel commander Kunti Kamara, who was sentenced to life in prison for atrocities committed during the West African country’s first civil war.
Kamara was found guilty on Wednesday of perpetrating torture and “barbaric acts” in 1993, when he was part of a rebel group known as the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO) active during the conflict.
The Paris Criminal Court that delivered its judgement also accused him of complicity in crimes against humanity committed in 1994, according to the Paris anti-terrorism prosecution office.
Kamara has maintained his innocence and one of his lawyers, Maryline Secci, told News Correspondents that she would appeal the sentence
Liberia endured conflicts that killed around 250,000 people between 1989 and 2003, when ex-president Charles Taylor, who seized power in a coup that sparked the rebellion, stepped down.
Thousands of people were mutilated and raped in fighting that involved drugged fighters and child soldiers conscripted by warlords.
A commission was set up in 2006 to probe crimes committed during the war, but critics say its findings have been largely not implemented.
Convictions have been rare and all prosecutions for serious crimes have taken place outside Liberia, rights groups say.
Kamara was arrested in 2018 after an NGO brought his case to the attention of French authorities. His trial was the first in France involving grave crimes committed abroad that are not linked to the Rwandan genocide.