A former Liberian rebel leader has gone on trial in Switzerland over alleged atrocities committed during the country’s long-running civil war.

Alieu Kosiah, 45, is accused of murder, rape, recruiting child soldiers and a host of other crimes.

The former rebel commander, who fled to Switzerland before being arrested there in 2014, denies the charges.

Around 250,000 people were killed in Liberia’s civil wars, and many thousands more fled the fighting.

Consecutive conflicts raged in the West African country between 1989 and 2003.

The trial in Switzerland, which began on Thursday, is the first under a 2011 law that allows prosecution for war crimes committed anywhere in the world. It also marks the first time war crimes charges have been heard by a Swiss civilian court.

Switzerland recognises the principle of universal justice, meaning people suspected of committing high-profile international crimes elsewhere can be tried in its courts.

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