Kanu, Santigie Borbor

Santigie Borbor KanuSantigie Borbor Kanu was a senior member of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), the Junta and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) anti-government forces involved in the Sierra Leone civil war. In May 1997, a group of AFRC soldiers, including Santigie Borbor Kanu, organised and conducted the Coup d’État in Freetown. After the successful overthrow of the government of President Kabbah, the rebel RUF movement made an alliance with the AFRC. At the time the AFRC/RUF coalition was in power in 1997-1999, its armed forces launched a series of attacks against the civilian population. The violent campaign consisted of summary executions, mutilations, destruction of villages, rapes, forced labour and the use of child soldiers. The aim of this violence was to terrorise the civilian population and to deter it from giving support to the regime of President Kabbah.

Santigie Borbor Kanu was indicted on 15 September 2003 with 18 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes. He was arrested the following day. In the beginning of 2004, the SCSL ordered the joint trial of Alex Tamba Brima, Santigie Borbor Kanu and Brima Bazzy Kamara. On 20 June 2007, the three co-defendants were found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the SCSL. Santigie Borbor Kanu was sentenced to 50 years’ imprisonment. This sentence was confirmed by the Appeals Chamber on 22 February 2008.

The judgments in the AFRC case were the first delivered by the Special Court. It was also the first time that an international tribunal ruled on the charge of child soldiers’ conscription, and on the crime of forced marriage in an armed conflict.

The Special Court for Sierra Leone's Appeals Judgment in the AFRC case
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