The case of the three appellants and former leaders of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), Alex Tamba Brima, Brima Bazzy Kamara, and Santigie Borbor Kanu has been finally laid to rest after the Appeals Chamber of the Special Court dismissed their appeals.
The three will continue their 50 for Alex Tamba Brima, 45 for Brima Bazzy Kamara and 50 years for Santigie Borbor Kanu which are going to be served concurrently as handed down by the Trial Chamber.
Giving his judgment the court’s president, Justice George Gelaga–King, said both the prosecution and the three defendants appealed in certain grounds of the judgment handed down by the Trial Chamber, stating that the Trial Chamber erred in certain parts of their judgment.
The president stated that the prosecution entered nine grounds of appeal which included the dismissal of the count of forced marriage but the Trial Chamber and the prosecution’s pleading of Joint Criminal Enterprise in the indictment.
The Trial Chamber dismissed the count of forced marriage as another inhumane act, ruling by a majority that it was not significantly different from other counts of rape and sexual slavery; this part of the appeal was held in part by the Chamber.
Justice George Gelaga stated that, “the Appeals Chamber found that acts of forced marriage amount to a separate crime under international law. This is the first such finding by any international court. The Appeals Chamber, however, declined to enter new convictions.”
The Appeals Chamber also reversed the decision of the Trial Chamber on the issue of Joint Criminal Enterprise which they said the prosecution did not properly plead the issue of Joint Criminal Enterprise, Criminal Enterprise.
“The Appeals Chamber found that the common criminal purpose of the Joint Criminal Enterprise was properly pleaded in the indictment, but it did not enter additional convictions,” the president said.
In the Appeal submission, the first Appellant Alex Tamba Brima entered 12 grounds among which was the equality of arms as they stated that there was vast difference in their part to get witnesses and access to other areas.
The second appellant, Brima Bazzy Kamara, entered 13 grounds of appeal where as the third Santigie Borbor Kanu entered 19 grounds of appeal. But their appeals were rejected by the Appeals Chamber.
The president also read a particular portion of the judgment of the Trial Chamber which stated that the “Trial Chamber found Brima, Kamara and Kanu responsible for some of the most heinous, brutal and atrocious crimes ever recorded in human history.”
“Innocent civilians, babies, children, men, and women of all ages were murdered, hacked to death, burnt alive, and beaten to death. Women and young girls were gang raped to death…Hack off the limbs of innocent civilians was commonplace. The victims were babies, young children and men and women of all ages…Children were forcibly taken away from their families, often drugged and used as child soldiers who were trained to kill and commit other brutal crimes against the civilian population,” he noted.
Reading the unanimous judgment president Gelaga-King said, “The Appeals Chamber is, therefore, satisfied that having regard to that finding the Trial Chamber was justified in imposing a prison sentence of 50 years on the Appellant Alex Tamba Brima, 45 years on the Appellant Brima Bazzy Kamara, and 50 years on Santigie Borbor Kanu. The Appeal Chamber therefore finds no reason to interfere with the quanta of the sentences of imprisonment passed on the appellants.” By Betty Milton