The AFRC case

Rebels from the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and Armed Forces Revolutionary Council [AFRC] patrol through the streets of Freetown, Sierra Leone shortly after a coup in May 1997.The Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) was founded by members of the Armed Forces of Sierra Leone who seized power from the elected government via a coup d’État in May 1997. From 1997 to 1999, the AFRC formed an alliance with the rebel movement RUF (Revolutionary United Front) against the pro-government militia Civil Defense Forces (CDF).

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 in Sierra Leone. The violent campaign consisted of summary executions, mutilations, destruction of villages, rapes, forced labor and the use of child soldiers. The AFRC and the RUF shared a common plan which was to take any actions necessary to gain and exercise political power and control over the territory of Sierra Leone, in particular the diamond mining areas. Diamonds were to be provided to persons outside Sierra Leone in return for assistance in the war.

The joint trial of the AFRC leaders Alex Tamba Brima, Santigie Borbor Kanu and Brima Bazzy Kamara began on 7 March 2005. On 20 June 2007, all three co-defendants were found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Brima and Kanu were sentenced to 50 years’ imprisonment while Kamara was sentenced to 45 years’ imprisonment. These sentences were upheld by the Appeals Chamber on 22 February 2008.

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