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Sierra Leone war crimes court begins trial of junta leaders

[JURIST] The Special Court for Sierra Leone [official website] opened its final scheduled trial in Freetown Monday as outgoing chief prosecutor David Crane outlined his case [opening statement, PDF; case summary] against three former members of the the country's military junta - Alex Tamba Brima, Brima Bazzy Kamara and Santigie Borbor Kanu. The leaders of the of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council who presided over the country after seizing power in a 1997 coup face 14 counts [indictment, PDF] of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including mutilation, rape, sexual slavery and conscripting child soldiers. The court is expected to wrap up its business after the trial; an indictment [text] against former Liberian leader Charles Taylor, wanted in connection with his support of a faction in the Sierra Leone conflict which led to the killing and mutilation of over 50,000 people, is still outstanding, but Taylor is presently in exile in Nigeria. AFP has more.

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