-For Crimes Against Humanity
France has detained a suspected former militant commander from Liberia’s brutal civil war and placed him under formal investigation for crimes against humanity for alleged atrocities including torture and cannibalism, police said Friday.
A legal source said the man, identified as naturalized Dutch citizen Kunti K., is suspected of being a former commander in the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO), which fought during the 1990s.
Arrested on Tuesday in the northeast Paris suburb of Bobigny where he had been hiding out at the home of a friend, he is suspected of torture, murder, slavery, the use of child soldiers and cannibalism between 1993 and 1997.
Africa’s oldest republic, formed by freed American slaves, was devastated by two civil wars which killed around 250,000 people between 1989 and 2003.
ULIMO was set up to fight a rebel force headed by warlord-turned-president Charles Taylor, who is currently serving a 50-year prison sentence for aiding and abetting rebels who committed atrocities in neighboring Sierra Leone.
Kunti K., born in 1974, was detained in a joint operation by elite GIGN police and officers from France’s OCLCH agency, which investigates war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.
“He had arrived in France in 2016, after leaving the Netherlands and passing through Belgium,” said Colonel Eric Emeraux, head of the OCLCH.
Paris prosecutors had opened an initial investigation into Kunti K. after victims’ rights group Civitas Maxima filed a criminal complaint on July 23.
Contacted by AFP, the Geneva-based group, which offers legal support to victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity, declined to comment on the case.
In a related development, the trial of Dagenham based ex-wife of former Liberian president accused of torture is adjourned
The torture trial of the ex-wife of former Liberian president Charles Taylor has been put off until the new year.
University lecturer Agnes Taylor, 52, who now lives in Dagenham, is due to go on trial at the Old Bailey over her alleged involvement in torture during the country’s civil war.
According to the barkinganddagenhampost.co.uk, she faces charges of torture and conspiracy to torture in the west African country between 1989 and 1991.
The defendant, of Kitchener Road, appeared at the Old Bailey via video link from Bronzefield jail before Mr. Justice Sweeney.
During the hearing, the senior judge postponed her October trial until January 2019.
A further pre-trial hearing was scheduled for October 3 and will go on for up to eight days.
Taylor, who previously worked as a lecturer and head of department at Coventry University, remains in custody.