The Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone Stephen Rapp has said in Freetown, that “Justice needed to be done.”
The Chief Prosecutor was speaking to journalists immediately after the verdict had been delivered by presiding Judge Justice Julia Sebutinde on the three leaders of the defunct Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) military junta.
Cautiously admitting that he was happy with the verdict, Mr. Rapp was quick to point out that “happiness is sort of a strange thing when you talk about convicting other human beings and sentencing them for long periods of punishment”.
Pointing out that he had been Prosecutor in the Rwanda Tribunals for almost six years and also in his country (USA) for eight years Mr Rapp added “but as I reflect on these events and as I read the evidence and talk to people that went through it – justice needed to be done and people responsible for the horror visited on this society – men, women, and children of Sierra Leone, deserve to be punished and justice needs to be done, and I am happy when justice is done.”
The Chief Prosecutor also noted that “Historically this is very important for Sierra Leone but it’s also important for the region and the entire world” because “the first judgments in the history of the world of the crime of the conscription for the use in active hostility of children under the age of 15” had been delivered.
“This is indeed the first conviction that has ever been obtained for that crime and I think its important that it be obtained here” he stated.