SCSL sentences former CDF leaders 09 Oct 2007
The Special Court for Sierra Leone has sentenced Moinina Fofana and Allieu Kondewa, two former leaders of the pro-Government CDF, to six- and eight-year prison sentences, respectively.

Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL)Following their convictions on 2 August 2007, the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), on Wednesday, 9 October, sentenced Moinina Fofana and Allieu Kondewa, two former leaders of the pro-Government Civil Defence Forces (CDF), to six- and eight-year prison sentences, respectively. The war crimes were primarily committed from 1997 to 1999, during Sierra Leone's decade-long civil conflict.

Moinina Fofana had been convicted by the Special Court on four counts of violations of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions (in respect to murder, cruel treatment, pillage, and collective punishments). Allieu Kondewa, who was convicted of the same four counts, was additionally convicted of 'conscripting or enlisting children under the age of 15 years into armed forces or groups or using them to participate actively in hostilities'. The case against a third accused CDF leader, Sam Hinga Norman, ended following his death in February 2007.

Prosecutors had asked for longer terms of imprisonment, but Presiding Judge Justice Benjamin Itoe pointed to a number of mitigating factors justifying 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”. It stated that “a manifestly repressive sentence, rather than providing the deterrent objective which it is meant to achieve, [would] be counterproductive to the Sierra Leonean society” and would not be in the overall interests of justice, peace, and reconciliation in the country.

The Trial Chamber concluded by articulating its hope that the judgement would send a message to future pro-democracy armed forces to “observe the laws of war in pursuing or defending legitimate causes, and that they must not recruit or use children as agents or instruments of war.”

The Court ordered that the sentences for each count imposed upon the accused be served concurrently. This means that Fofana will serve a total of six years and Kondewa will serve an eight-year sentence. The sentences will run from 29 May 2003, the date the two were taken into custody by the Special Court.

Press release

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