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Sierra Leone war crimes court convicts three of contempt

The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) [official website; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday found three members of Sierra Leone's former Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) guilty of contempt [press release]. Santigie Borbor Kanu and Hassan Papa Bangura were convicted of two counts of "interfering with the administration of justice by offering a bribe to a witness" and for attempting to induce a witness who had given testimony before the special court to recant. Ibrahim Bazzy Kamara was convicted for attempting to induce a witness to recant testimony he had previously given as well. Once sentencing has begun those convicted of contempt will face a maximum prison sentence of seven years, a fine up to two million Leones (approximately USD $500), or both.

The convictions in this case stem from indictments that were issued last year [JURIST report]. Kamara and Kanu had been convicted of war crimes by the SCSL in June 2007, and sentenced to at least 45 years in prison [JURIST reports]. With the recent conviction [JURIST report] of Charles Taylor, the SCSL has largely fulfilled its mission and will take steps to shut down. In November 2009, the SCSL handed over its detention facility [JURIST report] to the Sierra Leone Prison Service in a monumental step towards the court's resolution. The month before, eight men judged guilty of war crimes by the court were transferred [JURIST report] to Rwanda to serve out their terms. The SCSL was created in a joint endeavor by the government of Sierra Leone and the UN to provide a forum to try those responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law, committed in Sierra Leone.

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