- The Sierra Leone's war crimes tribunal has sentenced three top leaders of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) to jail terms between 25 and 52 years today for overseeing atrocities during the country's 1991 to 2002 civil war.
Issa Hassan Sesay who was slapped with 52 year, Morris Kallon to 40 years and Augustine Gbao to 25 years were found guilty on 25 February of various war crimes and crimes against humanity for their role in the west African country’s brutal civil war.
Local reports said the three are the first RUF fighters to be tried by the court, which has already jailed members of a pro-government force and those of a separate armed group formed by members of Sierra Leone's former military rulers.
“By the time the Sierra Leone's civil war ended in 2001, thousands of people had been killed and tens of thousands more had had their arms, legs, noses or ears cut off,” reports said.
According to a summary of the judgment in February, the three men were part of a so-called joint criminal enterprise aimed at gaining political power and control over the territory of Sierra Leone and in particular the diamond mining areas.
During the trial the prosecution also argued that the RUF needed the blood diamonds to fund their war against the government.
The Former Liberian leader Charles Taylor, is also on trial on charges of fomenting Sierra Leone's conflict during his own country's 1989-2003 civil war. His trial is underway in The Hague.
The RUF trial began in mid-2004 and the court heard how the rebel leaders were involved in the rape, mutilation and killings of civilians.
The RUF was notorious for using the so-called Small Boys Units child soldiers forcibly recruited and issued with AK-47 assault rifles to run the brutal assaults.
Thirteen people were originally indicted by the tribunal, but RUF rebel leader Foday Sankoh and his deputy commander Sam Bockarie died before coming to trial.
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.