Liberia: Ex-Warlord Kunti K. Released from Detention Due to Procedural Error
PARIS, France – Kunti K., who was in pre-trial detention in Paris on suspicion of crimes against humanity and torture, was released at the end of last week due to a procedural error. Kunti K. is subject to conditions of release, including being prohibited from leaving France.
Kunti K. was arrested in September 2018 while trying to flee France. Civitas Maxima and its sister organization in Liberia, the Global Justice and Research Project, publicly congratulated the French and Liberian authorities in June 2019 on carrying out investigations on the ground in Liberia, demonstrating the real progress made in this case.
Civitas Maxima represents several victims who have become civil parties against Kunti K. The association is itself a civil party in this case.
“We share the deep concern of our Liberian sister organization regarding this unexpected development, and urge the French authorities to ensure that the conditions of release placed on Kunti K. are adequate to ensure that he does not evade justice by leaving French territory, as he has tried to do in the past,” Civitas Maxima said in a statement.
Kuti K. was born in 1974. He is a Liberian national, naturalized Dutch. He was allegedly a former commander in the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO) fighting during the First Liberian civil war (1989-1996).
The ULIMO was fighting Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) until 1996.
On 23 July 2018, the Swiss NGO Civitas Maxima launched a complaint in the name of Liberian victims before the Office of the prosecutor in Paris.
On 4 September 2018, he was arrested by the OCLCH agency, the French police unit specialised in investigating war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and torture. Kunti K. was remanded in custody.
He is suspected of torture, murder, slavery, using child soldiers and cannibalism committed between 1993 and 1997, in Liberia during the civil war.