“The crimes for which he is responsible are the most serious of all. They have destroyed lives and their gravity has affected all of humanity”, justified the general counsel Aurélie Belliot. The 47-year-old accused, tried in particular for “complicity in crimes against humanity”, disputes the facts.

Arrested in Bobigny in 2018, this former member of the United Liberation Movement (Ulimo) is on trial for abuses committed in 1993-1994 in northwestern Liberia, at the time of the first civil war (1989-1997). He is notably accused of having facilitated the rape of two teenage girls, of having taken part in the killing of two civilians and of having engaged in an act of cannibalism.

“Your verdict will be historic and your decision and the sentence you pronounce will be scrutinized in Liberia” where these crimes have never been judged, estimated the general counsel after having described how Ulimo had erected “terror in mode of governance” in the north-west region of the country which he seized in the early 1990s.

Public executions, torn hearts, distribution of human meat, intestines to delimit checkpoints: Aurélie Belliot detailed “the infinite cruelty” suffered by civilians in the village of Foya where “Commander Kundi” officiated.

“Life was no longer just a matter of luck”, summed up the Advocate General, who returned to the killing of a civilian in 1993, “a scene of absolute cruelty” in which the accused would have taken an “active” part, in particular by eating the victim’s heart which had been torn out with an axe.

According to the Advocate General, “constant and concordant” testimonies also point to him as the man who in 1993 executed a woman who had just lost her newborn baby and who ordered that her body be burned on the grounds that was “a witch”.

Finally, according to the prosecution, the accused did indeed allow men placed “under his direct authority” to repeatedly rape two teenage girls from Foya, in a context of “generalized sexual exploitation” of women.

The accused could put an end to these crimes but only showed “total indifference”, said the other general counsel Claire Thouault.

The defense must speak in the afternoon. The verdict is expected on Wednesday.