A Finnish court tried Gibril Massaquoi, a former Revolutionary Front commander in Sierra Leone – accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The crimes were allegedly committed in Liberia between 1999 and 2003. He was found not guilty by the Finnish courts.
Gibril Massaquoi has been living in exile in Finland for a decade. Although he was acquitted by the Finnish court, an appeal was lodged. The court moved temporarily to Liberia for part of the trial for logistical reasons, as some witnesses were unable to travel to Finland.
The Finnish Appeal Court judges, prosecutors and lawyers arrived in Monrovia on January 31, 2023 and will stay for two months to hear the appeal trial of Massaquoi who was acquitted of all charges in the first instance, in Finland in April 2022.
Between the two trials, there has been no new investigation, writes Justiceinfo.net.
Prosecutor Tom Laitenen said: “We can’t say we are going to win. We just disagreed on the findings of the trial court. It’s more a question of how you should interpret the witness statements. The trial court said all witnesses were reliable, they didn’t lie, but that the evidence was not sufficient. That’s what we disagree on. That’s why we have a new expert witness. How much can you demand from a witness, taking into account what they have experienced? That’s the main reason why we have taken the case to appeal.”