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Sierra Leone war crimes court convicts two former militia leaders

[JURIST] The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) [official website] convicted two former leaders of Sierra Leone's Civil Defense Forces [SCSL case materials] militia Thursday, finding Moinina Fofana and Allieu Kondewa [TrialWatch profiles] guilty on four counts [press release, PDF] of "murder, cruel treatment, pillage, and collective punishment." Kondewa was also convicted on an additional charge for the recruitment of child combatants under the age of 15. Both defendants were acquitted of crimes against humanity, and are expected to be sentenced in September.

In July, the SCSL sentenced [JURIST report] three former leaders of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council [MIPT backgrounder] to at least 45 years of imprisonment each for committing rape, murder, mutilation, pillage, and the abduction of thousands of children to fight as soldiers or work as laborers in diamond mines. The verdict in the AFRC case [SCSL materials] was the first judgment handed down by the court. The SCSL has suspended the trial [JURIST report] of former Liberian President Charles Taylor [BBC profile; SCSL case materials] until August 20 to give his new defense team [JURIST report] more time to prepare. AFP has more.

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