A United Nations-backed court says a former militia leader convicted of war crimes during Sierra Leone's civil war has been granted provisional release and will serve out the remainder of his term in his community.

The Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone said in a statement that Moinina Fofana was transferred to Sierra Leone from a prison in Rwanda on Thursday. He is the first person convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the court to be freed from prison.

His 15-year term ends in May 2018, and he will serve the rest of his time in the city of Bo. The statement said he will be "subject to strict conditions and stringent monitoring."

Fofana was a leader of a pro-government militia accused of torturing and mutilating civilians.