The Special Court for the Sierra Leone (SCSL) [official website; JURIST news archive] on Friday sentenced [press release, PDF] four men to prison terms ranging from 18 months to 2 years on contempt charges stemming from allegations of witness tampering. Three of the men were convicted last month after a fourth suspect, Samuel Kargbo, plead guilty and testified for the prosecution. 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. The men have all been previously convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Their new prison terms will be added to their previous sentences.
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.