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Sierra Leonean War Crimes Trials Begin 3 June

War Crimes Trials Of Three Sierra Leonean Leaders To Start 3 June

The joint war crimes trial of three leaders of Sierra Leone's now-defunct civilian militia, which was active during the West African country's 10-year civil war, is set to start on 3 June, the Special Court for Sierra Leone said today.

The three former leaders of the Civil Defence Forces (CDF) - Moinina Fofana, Allieu Kondewa and former Internal Affairs Minister Sam Hinga Norman - will be tried on eight counts that include unlawful killing, physical violence, mental suffering, terrorizing civilians and using child soldiers during the war, the Court said.

The joint trial of three alleged leaders of the one-time Revolutionary United Front (RUF) - Augustine Gbao, Morris Kallon and Issa Hassan Sesay - will start on 5 July and consider 18 charges each, the Court said.

The orders for both trials were signed by Presiding Judge Bankole Thompson for the Trial Chamber, the Court said.

The Court is an independent tribunal established jointly by the United Nations and the Government of Sierra Leone. It is mandated to bring to justice those who bear greatest responsibility for atrocities committed in the country after 30 November 1996.

Eleven persons have been indicted so far on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international humanitarian law. Nine indictees are currently in the custody of the Court.

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