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Finnish court acquits former rebel from Sierra Leone

Former rebel from Sierra Leone Gibril Massaquoi   -  
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Sierra Leone

A court in Finland has acquitted a former rebel from Sierra Leone accused of war crimes.

The decision, announced on Friday, rejected the accusations saying there was not enough evidence to convict the 52 year old former rebel of war crimes.

The prosecutor is yet to decide if he'll launch an appeal.

"I understand that in a case like this there are difficult questions that a judge, a court, has to take into consideration regarding whether to convict or not. Now we have to read the judgement carefully and try to see if there's anything that we just simply can't agree on with the courts", said prosecutor Tom Laitinen.

The Finnish court moved to Liberia in early 2021, a first in a country where no court has so far tried crimes committed during the civil wars of 1989-1996 and 1999-2003.

"Finland and any other country for that matter might owe something to all the people that have lost their lives during the civil war in, for example, Liberia, and we have a humane responsibility to try and bring the perpetrators to justice", added the prosecutor.

In June 2021, former Liberian rebel commander Alieu Kosiah was sentenced to 20 years in prison by the Swiss Federal Criminal Court, becoming the first Liberian to be convicted of war crimes committed during the conflict in his country.

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