The Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court, Stephen Rapp, on Thursday briefed the people of Makeni about the verdict passed on the three indicted Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) members.
Speaking at the town council hall, the prosecutor explained that he was proud to be part of the court though he had been in trials in other African countries.
The judgment, he went on, was contained in a document of 630 pages, and that the judges looked into the evidences adduced by both the prosecution and defence after which judgment was passed.
Prosecution Rapp stated that, “the judgment will serve as a deterrent to other people who want to use violence as a means of venting out their fury”.
On the verdict of the enlisting of children in hostilities Mr Rapp said, “this judgment will send a strong message not only to Sierra Leoneans but other parts of Africa not to enlist child soldiers.
This particular judgment is the first in the history of war crimes.”
Talking about the court, the Chief Prosecutor maintained that the court here was different as its came into operations by the request of the government.
“About 60% of the staff are Sierra Leoneans, so everything we are doing is for the people of this country as we want justice to prevail,” he said.
On the court’s mandate, the Chief Prosecutor said there were more than 13 people who committed atrocities during the 11 years war. “But our mandate covers only those who bear the greatest responsibility,” he reaffirmed.
In his statement Paramount Chief Bai Sheborah Kasangha II said though this was the first visit by the prosecutor they had had other visits by other personalities of the court.
PC Kasangha disclosed that Makeni town was the second seat of the rebels and that seeing them face judgment many residents would be delighted about it.
In a meeting with the Bishop of Makeni, George Biguzzi Bishop observed that “the people here have religious tolerance; you will see Muslims and Christians mixing without any problems.”
The Bishop said with the trials of the war crimes indictees, “this is a clear indication that no matter how high a man is he is going to account for his works”.
Talking to an amputee, Mariatu Sesay, about the judgment of the three AFRC indictees, she said she was happy because justice had been done.