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Sierra Leone war crimes court upholds prison sentences for AFRC junta leaders

[JURIST] The appeals chamber of the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone [official website] on Friday upheld the sentences [press release, PDF] of three former leaders of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council [MIPT backgrounder; SCSL case materials] who were convicted of crimes against humanity. In July 2007, the court sentenced [JURIST report] Brima Bazzy Kamara to 45 years in prison, while Alex Tamba Brima and Santigie Borbor Kanu [TrialWatch profiles] were each sentenced to 50 years after being convicted of crimes committed while leading the militia that took over Sierra Leone's government in 1997.

The three men were convicted [JURIST report] in June 2007 of crimes against humanity including collective punishments, murder, rape, conscripting or enlisting child soldiers, enslavement, and pillage. The verdict, which came more than two years after the trial started [JURIST report], was the first ever conviction on the recruitment and use of child soldiers by an international tribunal. Reuters has more.

3/4/08 - The full text of the appeals judgment [part 1, PDF; part 2, PDF] has now been made available by the court. A summary [PDF text] is also available.

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