A Liberian woman told the Swiss Federal Criminal Court prosecuting Alieu Kosiah for war crimes that the former rebel commander raped her four times in one night in Voinjama, Lofa County.
The woman told a harrowing story of her experiences of the ULIMO rebels under Mr. Kosiah’s command. She said Mr. Kosiah and his rebels had raided Botosu—a town 150 miles northeast of Monrovia—killing her father and brother, and forcing civilians to head-carry looted goods.
She fled the town and hid in the bush. The woman—whose name and location have been concealed by New Narratives at her lawyer’s request—told the court via videoconference from Liberia that a rebel child-soldier had captured her from the bush and taken her to Mr. Kosiah. (She is the only witness not to have traveled to the court to testify. She did not come because she had just given birth a week earlier.)
“He (Kosiah) took me and said I was his wife. We slept together that night,” she said, adding she was a virgin and had not seen her period before the incident. “He raped me four times that night.” The 43-year-old said Mr. Kosiah threatened to kill her if she resisted.
The witness said she managed to escape the next morning after making Mr. Kosiah think she was too afraid to flee. “I acted like I never wanted to run away. If I was going to show I wanted run away, he was going to me,” she said. “I was bleeding when I was running but I never [thought] about that.”
Shortly after, she said she fled to Guinea where she was treated for her injuries. She has rarely spoken of the incident since it happened.
Mr. Kosiah is on trial for war crimes committed in Liberia for allegedly including 18 murders, the eating of the heart of a schoolteacher, forced transportation, looting, recruitment of child soldiers, rape, and sexual enslavement.
This witness, the last of seven plaintiffs who brought the case against Kosiah is his accuser on the counts of rape and sexual enslavement.
The former commander of the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO), faces a maximum 20-year sentence in a Swiss jail.