The Pirkanmaa district court remanded on Thursday a Sierra Leonean man who has been living permanently in Finland for over ten years on suspicion of crimes against humanity committed during the Civil War in Liberia (1999-2003).
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) requested on Wednesday that he was placed on remand on suspicion of murders and aggravated war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in exceptional circumstances.
The criminal law in force in Finland at the time of the offences applies to the criminal investigation; in the old legislation the offences were referred to as aggravated warfare crimes and aggravated violations of human rights.
According to Police information, the suspected offences took place during the Liberian civil war which ended in 2003.
At that time, the suspect held a leading position in the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), a Sierra Leonean rebel army that also operated in Liberia. "It is suspected that he both committed the offences himself and incited others to commit them," police say.
Exceptionally serious crimes
"Exceptionally, the suspected serious crimes against life and health, personal liberty and physical integrity include homicide and sexual violence as well as recruitment and deployment of child soldiers," says Detective Superintendent Thomas Elfgren from the NBI.
The criminal investigation was opened in autumn 2018 on the prosecution order issued by the Prosecutor General under the Criminal Code, the Criminal Investigation Act and international treaties binding on Finland.
The NBI has conducted investigations in Liberia and Sierra Leone, among other countries, and interviewed several dozen people.
"The Liberian judicial authorities have supported the criminal investigation and permitted us to collect information in Liberia. The next step is to interview the suspect and to conduct any further investigations requested by the prosecutor and the defence," Thomas Elfgren says.
The NBI arrested the suspect, who lives in Tampere, on 10 March 2020.