The United Nations backed Special Court for Sierra Leone yesterday handed down the lightest sentences to the former Director of War Moinina Fofanah and Alieu Kondewa Chief Priest of the Civil Defence Forces.
The two had been convicted on four counts dealing with (count 2) violence to life (murder), (count 4) violence to life (cruel treatment), (count 5) pillage and (count 7) collective punishments.
Alieu Kondewa had been convicted on an additional charge (count 8) for the use of child soldiers.
Moinina Fofanah was sentenced to 6 years for count 2, 6 years for count 4, 3 years for count 5 and 4 years for count 7 leading to a total of 19 years.
Alieu Kondewa received 8 years for count 2, 8 Years for count 4, 5 years for count 5, 6 years for count 7 and 7 years for count 8 adding up to a total 34 years.
However the judges noted that Fofanah and Kondewa had stepped forward not because of their selfish aims but in true defence of the country.
In that regard they ordered that the sentences be served concurrently.
This means that Fofanah’s 19 years is reduced to 6 years and Kondewa’s 34 years is reduced to a total of 8 years.
The judges did not stop there. They also ordered that the sentences should be effective from the day the two were arrested and placed in custody which was 29th May 2003.
This further reduced the sentences by another four years.
In effect Fofanah will now serve the remaining of one year one month while Kondewa will now serve three years one month.
Justice Itoe called on all Sierra Leoneans to “bury the hatchet of war, bury the hatchet of conflict.”
He called on Fofanah and Kondewa to respect their words and not go after those who may have given evidence against them.