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Sierra Leone war crimes court sentences former militia leaders

[JURIST] The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) [official website] Tuesday sentenced [press release, PDF] two former leaders of Sierra Leone's Civil Defense Forces (CDF) [SCSL case materials] - Moinina Fofana and Allieu Kondewa - to six and eight years imprisonment, respectively. The sentences will run from the date they were initially imprisoned in 2003. Fofana and Kondewa [TrialWatch profiles] were convicted [JURIST report] last month of "murder, cruel treatment, pillage, and collective punishment." Kondewa was also convicted for the recruitment of child combatants under the age of 15. Both defendants were acquitted of crimes against humanity and charges of terrorism.

Explaining the sentences Tuesday, the court said:

Prosecutors had asked for longer terms of imprisonment, but Presiding Judge Justice Benjamin Itoe, in reading out today's sentencing judgment, pointed to a number of mitigating factors which the Court held justified shorter sentences. These included the CDF's efforts to restore Sierra Leone's democratically-elected government which, the Trial Chamber noted, "contributed immensely to re-establishing the rule of law in this Country where criminality, anarchy and lawlessness...had become the order of the day".
BBC News has more.

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