Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users take on 'Ice Bucket Challenge' to fight ALS

Read more

ENCORE!

From Paris's Liberation to 'arresting' art in Avignon

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Ferguson riots: Pressure mounts on Obama

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'The pen is mightier than the sword'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Requiem for a recorder'

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan's Political Turmoil: Can Imran Khan's PTI Party Depose the Government?

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan's Political Turmoil: Can Imran Khan's PTI Party Depose the Government? (part 2)

Read more

  • Two US Ebola patients leave hospital ‘virus-free’

    Read more

  • Special report: Supplying Ukraine’s soldiers on the front line

    Read more

  • US reaches historic $16.7bn settlement with Bank of America

    Read more

  • US forces tried to rescue slain reporter from IS captors

    Read more

  • Israeli air strike kills three top Hamas commanders

    Read more

  • France delivered arms to Syrian rebels, Hollande confirms

    Read more

  • Tensions high in Yemen as Shiite rebel deadline looms

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Former Irish PM Albert Reynolds dies at 81

    Read more

  • Former Femen activist detained after fighting veiled woman

    Read more

  • Thailand coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha voted prime minister

    Read more

  • Brazil’s Silva launches bid after Campos plane crash death

    Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • France’s ex-PM Juppé sets up presidential clash with Sarkozy

    Read more

  • US attorney general visits Missouri town after fatal shooting

    Read more

Africa

UN tribunal upholds sentences handed to former rebel leaders

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-10-26

The UN-backed tribunal has upheld sentences of up to 52 years in prison to three men who were rebel leaders during the country’s brutal civil war. The conflict left 120,000 people dead and tens of thousands mutilated.

AFP - Sierra Leone's UN-backed tribunal upheld Monday sentences of up to 52 years in prison for three former rebel leaders in its last ever judgement to be handed down in Freetown.
   
Although the court accepted certain grounds for appeal by the defendants, the five-judge panel confirmed the sentences for Issa Hassan Sesay (52 years), Morris Kallon (40 years) and Augustine Gbao (25 years).
   
The three men were convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity for overseeing a spree of rapes and killings during the country's brutal civil war, which ended in 2001 after a decade of bloodshed.
   
"The court imposes a global sentence of 52 years," presiding judge Renate Winter told former Revolutionary United Front (RUF) interim leader Sesay after a summary of the verdict was read out in court.
   
Sesay, who has received the highest sentence ever handed out by the court, smiled slightly as he stood up to hear the verdict Monday.
   
The sentences for Kallon and Gbao were also upheld.
   
The ruling against the RUF leaders is the last judgement the court will hand down in Freetown as its only remaining case, the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, is being held in The Hague for security reasons.
   
In Sierra Leone, the court is now expected to close its doors eight years after the end of the civil war, keeping only a skeletal team to deal with the Taylor trial and the wrapping up of all remaining issues like transfer of the convicts to serve their sentences in other countries.
   
The Special Court for Sierra Leone was established by the United Nations in 2002 to try those who bear "the greatest responsibility" for the atrocities during the civil war.
   
The conflict left 120,000 people dead and tens of thousands mutilated. The rival factions routinely raped women and forced them to become so-called bush wives of rebel soldiers. Many children were snatched by rebels, drugged and forced to fight as child soldiers.
   
Since 2004 the court has tried leaders of the three main factions in the war: the Civil Defence Forces (CDF), the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and the RUF. With Monday's appeals judgement in the RUF case all these cases will be completed.
   
For the prosecution, the outcome of the RUF trial could have a significant impact on the trial of Charles Taylor in The Hague. The Liberian former president is accused of masterminding the terror campaign waged against the people of Sierra Leone by the RUF and AFRC rebels.
   
But a conviction would prove difficult because Taylor is not accused of committing atrocities himself.
   
The confirmation of the convictions of the RUF leadership as part of a joint criminal enterprise will boost the prosecution's case against Taylor, since he is accused of being at the head of such an enterprise.
   
In February this year the trial chamber ruled that the RUF leaders formed a joint criminal enterprise and went on a spree of killings, mutilations and rapes in order to gain control over Sierra Leone's lucrative diamond mining regions.
   
The rebels used so-called blood diamonds to fund the fighting.
   
The verdict said the RUF established control by "terrorising the civilian population" through mass killings, rape and so-called "short sleeved and long sleeved amputations".
   
During the conflict RUF rebels were notorious for asking victims to choose between short sleeves, meaning amputation of the arm at the shoulder, or long sleeves, amputation of the hand at the wrist.
   
The appeals chamber upheld the ruling of the trial chamber Monday on most points.
   
The RUF and the AFRC cases also help the prosecution establish that the crimes they hold Taylor responsible for through his alleged control of the rebels did happen. To get a conviction for Taylor, prosecutors will not need to prove that the atrocities occurred, only that he effectively controlled the rebels.

Date created : 2009-10-26

COMMENT(S)