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S/Leone rebels sentenced
afrol News, 8 April - The Sierra Leone's war crimes tribunal has sentenced three top leaders of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) to jail terms between 25 and 52 years today for overseeing atrocities during the country's 1991 to 2002 civil war.
Issa Hassan Sesay who was slapped with 52 year, Morris Kallon to 40 years and Augustine Gbao to 25 years were found guilty on 25 February of various war crimes and crimes against humanity for their role in the west African country’s brutal civil war.
Local reports said the three are the first RUF fighters to be tried by the court, which has already jailed members of a pro-government force and those of a separate armed group formed by members of Sierra Leone's former military rulers.
“By the time the Sierra Leone's civil war ended in 2001, thousands of people had been killed and tens of thousands more had had their arms, legs, noses or ears cut off,” reports said.
According to a summary of the judgment in February, the three men were part of a so-called joint criminal enterprise aimed at gaining political power and control over the territory of Sierra Leone and in particular the diamond mining areas.
During the trial the prosecution also argued that the RUF needed the blood diamonds to fund their war against the government.
The Former Liberian leader Charles Taylor, is also on trial on charges of fomenting Sierra Leone's conflict during his own country's 1989-2003 civil war. His trial is underway in The Hague.
The RUF trial began in mid-2004 and the court heard how the rebel leaders were involved in the rape, mutilation and killings of civilians.
The RUF was notorious for using the so-called Small Boys Units child soldiers forcibly recruited and issued with AK-47 assault rifles to run the brutal assaults.
Thirteen people were originally indicted by the tribunal, but RUF rebel leader Foday Sankoh and his deputy commander Sam Bockarie died before coming to trial.
By staff writer
© afrol News
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