A man has been arrested in England city of Leeds on suspicion of committing war crimes carried
out during the civil war in Sierra Leone and along the Liberian borders, police said.
The Metropolitan Police said officers from its war crimes team had arrested a 42-year-old man at
an address in Leeds on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 on suspicion of offences contrary to section 51 of
the International Criminal Court (ICC) Act of 2001.
The force said the arrest was part of an ongoing investigation into alleged atrocities that occurred
during the civil war in Sierra Leone between 1994 and 2000.
The man, whose identity has not been released, was taken to a police station in Leeds and later
released under investigation. Officers also carried out a search of a property in the city.
The civil war in Sierra Leone broke out in 1991 when the Revolutionary United Front (RUF)
began a campaign against President Joseph Momoh, capturing towns on the border with Liberia.
The West African country saw a third of its population displaced and tens of thousands killed
during the 11-year conflict.
The conflict was characterized by extreme brutality and widespread human rights abuses against
The RUF captured towns near the southern border with Liberia, aided by the special forces of
Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia.
A third of Sierra Leone’s population was displaced, with tens of thousands killed during the 11-
year conflict from 1991 until 2002.
In 2012, former Liberian President Taylor was jailed for 50 years. Taylor was found guilty of
aiding rebels who committed atrocities during Sierra Leone’s civil war.
He was found guilty of 11 crimes and Judge Richard Lussick said at the time that the ex-warlord
was responsible for “some of the most heinous crimes in human history.”
Taylor maintained his innocence, saying he only made contact with the rebels to urge them to
stop fighting, but it was confirmed two years later that he would serve his full sentence and was
transferred to a prison in the UK.
The conviction made him the first former head of state to be found guilty of war crimes since the
Second World War.