A citizen of Sierra Leone arrested by NBI on suspicion of serious crimes in Liberia in 1999–2003

11.3.2020 15.00
News item

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) requests that a citizen of Sierra Leone, born in 1969, be placed on remand on suspicion of murders and aggravated war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in exceptional circumstances. The remand hearing is held at the Pirkanmaa District Court on Thursday 12 March at 11 o’clock.

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.

The suspected offences took place during the Liberian civil war in 1999–2003. 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.

– 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 suspect has resided permanently in Finland for over ten years now. The NBI arrested the suspect, who lives in Tampere, on 10 March 2020.

National Bureau of Investigation Rikokset ja tutkinta Uutinen
Central Criminal Police
criminal cases
preliminary investigation