A Finnish court of appeal has begun hearing an international war crime case in which a Sierra Leonean man

is charged with murders, rapes and other atrocities during the Liberian civil war between 1999 and 2003.

Prosecutors argued the 53-year-old suspect Gibril Massaquoi – who has denied any wrongdoing – murdered, raped and mutilated civilians as a top official of the Revolutionary United Front.

Last year, Massaquoi, who has lived in Finland for many years, was acquitted of all charges by a lower Finnish court.

It said a significant doubt remained about his participation in the suspected acts due to witnesses changing their testimonies.

But the prosecutors took the case to the court of appeal in Turku, whose members will travel to Liberia and Sierra Leone to hear witnesses again in the coming months, the court said.

Liberia endured conflicts that killed approximately 250,000 people between 1989 and 2003, when Taylor, who seized power in a coup that sparked the rebellion, stepped down.