- Sierra Leone's war criminals of the former pro-government Civil Defence Force [Kamajor] have had their prison terms more than doubled by the United Nations-backed war crimes court.
The former Kamajor leaders - Moinina Fofana and Alieu Kondewa - were respectively sentenced to six and eight years in prison last year. Their lawyers filed an appeal because the sentences were a far cry from their clients' crimes.
But the tribunal headed by Justice Kelega King discovered that the previous terms were below the level of their crimes and went ahead to adjust the sentences of Fofana and Kondewa 16 and 20 years.
The men were found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity during Sierra Leone's brutal 10-year civil war, which saw the cutting of arms and limbs of thousands of people.
Fofana and Kondewa led the pro-government militia group - mainly composed of traditional Kamajor hunter fighters - to fight against the rebels, including the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) of the late Foday Sankoh.
Unlike other fighters, most Sierra Leoneans commended the Kamajor militia for defending armless civilians from heartless rebels. This was why the arrest of the group's late founder, Sam Hinga Norman, attracted a barrage of condemnation.
However, Human Rights Watch was delighted with the court's latest decision, saying there could not be any excuse for attacking and mutilating innocent civilians.
Earlier, the Appeals Chamber of the court had upheld the long sentences on three leaders of the defunct ruling Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC).
Alex Tamba Brima, Brima Bazzy Kamara and Santigie Borbor Kanu were convicted last June on 11 of the 14 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other violations of international humanitarian law.
Brima and Kanu were each sentenced to 50 years in prison while Kamara received 45 years.
The men's appeal was turned down as the court upheld the judgment and sentence, believing it was "pursuant to Section "pursuant to Section 102 of procedure and evidence."
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.