Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Prosecution appeals for stiffer terms for jailed ex-rebel chiefs

imageFREETOWN (AFP) - Prosecutors at the UN-backed war crimes court for Sierra  Leone on Monday lodged an appeal seeking to lengthen the sentences of three ex-rebel chiefs already jailed for between 45 and 50 years.

The appeals hearing opened on Monday with Christopher Staker, who is leading the prosecution insisting heavier terms would "reflect their additional criminal liability".

In July the court jailed Tamba Brima, 35, and Santigie Borbor Kanu, 42, to 50 years and Brima Kamara, 39, to 45 years.

Then the prosecution had asked for between 50 and 60 years for each of the convicts.

The three were leaders of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), a rebel faction which toppled an elected government in 1997. They were found guilty of mutilation, murder, rape and enlisting child soldiers during the brutal 10-year civil war.

The hearing continues on Tuesday and the court will reach a decision at a later date.

The defence has already said it will also appeal against the sentences handed down to the trio.

The ex-rebels were the first of nine defendants appearing before the court, which is trying the main perpetrators of crimes committed during the west African country's 1991-2001 conflict, financed largely by its so-called blood diamonds.

By the time the country's decade-long civil war ended in 2001, some 120,000 people had died and thousands of others had been mutilated, with their arms and legs chopped off.

A second set of indictees -- two former commanders of a tribal-based notorius militia force that supported government troops during a gruesome civil war -- last month received relatively lighter sentences of six and eight years each.

Prosecution appeals for stiffer terms for jailed ex-rebel chiefs - Yahoo! News