Appeals Chamber upholds hefty AFRC sentences 22 Feb 2008
The Appeals Chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone has upheld the lengthy sentences of three former AFRC leaders, while reversing two of the Trial Chamber's original decisions.

Alex Tamba BrimaAs the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor continues in The Hague, the Appeals Chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) in Freetown has dismissed all appeals of the three former leaders of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and confirmed their momentous sentences.


On 19 July 2007, the Trial Chamber had sentenced Alex Tamba Brima and Santigie Borbor Kanu to 50 years’ imprisonment, while Brima Bazzy Kamara received a 45-year jail term. The three leaders were convicted on eleven counts for war crimes, crimes against humanity (including murder, rape, enslavement and pillage) and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed during Sierra Leone’s civil war during the late 1990s.


Santigie Borbor KanuIn its Judgment of 22 February, the Appeals Chamber dismissed the numerous grounds of appeal put forward by each appellant. The Prosecution also entered nine grounds of appeal against the Trial Chamber’s judgment, including appeals against the dismissal of the count of forced marriage.


In its judgment, the Trial Chamber had dismissed the count of forced marriage as an “other inhumane act”, ruling by a majority that it was not significantly different from other counts of rape and sexual slavery. The Appeals Chamber upheld the Prosecution’s appeal in part, finding that acts of forced marriage amount to a separate crime under international law. This is the first such finding by an international court.


Brima Bazzy KamaraThe Appeals Chamber also reversed a Trial Chamber decision that the Prosecution had not properly pleaded the issue of Joint Criminal Enterprise (JCE). The Appeals Chamber found that the common criminal purpose of the JCE had been correctly pleaded in the indictment, but again refrained from entering additional convictions.

The three sentences handed down last year by the SCSL were the first since the Court was established by an agreement between the United Nations and the Government of Sierra Leone – at the behest of the latter – on 16 January 2002.

Press release


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