BBC reports that the trial of an African warlord, 51-years old Gibril Ealoghima Massaquoi, has started in Finland. Ealoghima was a spokesperson for the Sierra Leone rebel group, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), and is accused of committing atrocities during the civil war in Liberia.
Prosecutors claim that Gibril Ealoghima Massaquoi, who is from Sierra Leone, was a senior member of a rebel group that fought in Liberia from 1999 to 2003. He is accused of killing civilians and unarmed soldiers, as well as committing rape and recruiting children soldiers. Massaquoi denies the charges, claiming that at the time of the alleged crimes he conducting peace talks.
Massaquoi is accused of murder, crimes against humanity, and aggravated war crimes. According to witnesses, he forced civilians inside two buildings, then lock up the buildings and put them on fire. In another particularly gruesome alleged atrocity, the prosecutor says, Massaquoi would eat the meat of his victims’ bodies. Supposedly some of the bodies were cut up and turned into food for him.
RUF was generally known for hacking off the limbs of civilians, and for rape and murder. Around 250,000 people were killed in the Liberian conflict, which was intertwined with the war in Sierra Leone. Massaquoi was relocated to Finland in 2008 as part of a witness protection program, which provided immunity for crimes committed in Sierra Leone, but not Liberia, as BBC reports.