Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 27 October 2020

UK police arrest man over alleged Liberian war crimes

Officers are raiding the home of a 45-year-old man in London

The Liberian national flag on a booth in Monrovia. EPA
The Liberian national flag on a booth in Monrovia. EPA

British police have arrested a man on suspicion of war crimes relating to conflicts in Liberia between 1989 and 2003.

Police said detectives had detained the unnamed 45-year-old man on Thursday in southeast London over alleged offences contrary to the International Criminal Court Act, and he was now in custody.

He has been arrested a man on suspicion of war crimes relating to conflicts in Liberia between 1989 and 2003.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Officers from the Met Police War Crimes Team have arrested a man on suspicion of war crimes, contrary to section 51 of the International Criminal Court Act 2001.

"Detectives arrested the 45-year-old man in South East London at approximately 7.20am this morning. He has been taken into custody at a central London police station.

"The arrest follows an allegation of offences relating to the first and second Liberian Civil Wars, between 1989 and 2003.

"Officers are currently searching an address in South East London. Enquiries are ongoing."

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor waits for the start of his sentencing in Leidschendam, near The Hague, Netherlands today.
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor waits for the start of his sentencing in Leidschendam, near The Hague, Netherlands today.

From 1989 to 2003, up to a quarter of a million people in Liberia were killed in a civil war, while thousands more were mutilated and raped.

Former Liberian president Charles Taylor is serving 50 years in a British prison after being found guilty by an international tribunal of crimes against humanity.

His ex-wife Agnes Reeves Taylor was charged by British police with torture in 2017 but the case against her was dismissed two years later after a judge said there was a lack of evidence of governmental control at the time of the alleged crimes.

She was alleged to have committed crimes of torture while working with the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), led by her former husband during his bid to unseat then-president Samuel K Doe.

Human Rights Watch has previously praised the UK for its efforts to bring perpetrators to justice.

“The actions taken by the United Kingdom to address crimes committed during Liberia’s brutal civil war will no doubt be welcomed by victims in Liberia,” Elise Keppler, associate director of the international justice program at Human Rights Watch, has previously said.

“The NPFL committed horrific abuses against civilians."

The UK has only previously adjudicated a handful of cases under such laws.

The first was the case of Anthony Sawoniuk, convicted for Nazi-related crimes under the War Crimes Act of 1991, which is specific to crimes committed during the Second World War.

The second was the conviction of Faryadi Zardad, an Afghan warlord charged with torture.

Updated: August 27, 2020 04:17 PM

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