Stephen Rapp the Prosecutor of the Special Court yesterday held an interactive forum with members of Civil Society and pupils of various Secondary Schools on the judgment and sentence of indictees of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), Civil Defence Forces (CDF) and Revolutionary United Front (RUF)
Speaking at the Presidential Lounge of the National Stadium Prosecutor Rapp explained about the court, how it was established by an agreement between the government of Sierra Leone and the United Nations and its mandate which is to prosecute those who bear the greatest responsibility.
The Prosecutor maintained that the court is not here to try all those who fought during the war but those who bear the greatest responsibility for the wrongs that were committed.
Stephen Rapp said that the three groups – RUF, AFRC and CDF – were those identified by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as bearing the greatest responsibility for the war in the country.
He went on to explain that the conviction by the judges of the AFRC indictees is an indication that they were also responsible for serious crimes during the 10 years war and the sentence a month later to 50, 45 and 50 years in prison.
For the CDF judgment the Prosecutor went on, the two accused were convicted on various grave crimes against humanity not just murder but also cruel treatment and collective responsibility.
He added that the judgment on the CDF is a pointer that it does not matter on which side you are fighting whether fighting against a dictator or to restore democracy the civilians should be protected.
Explaining about the trial of Charles Taylor Prosecutor Rapp said, Taylor was responsible for the attacks led by the RUF in the country, though there were certain grievances but that most of these attacks were fueled by Charles Taylor.
These attacks he added, were not against the Police or the Army but on the innocent civilian population who were used as slaves and carried loads for the rebels.
Prosecutor Rapp said “this is not about winning or losing, it is about the rule of law and justice.”
In her statement Marie Mabinty Kamara of the Special Court Outreach Section said that the Prosecution had been interacting with Civil Societies in the court but that they thought it fit to come out and meet with them outside the court encouraging the pupils to ask questions so as to get first hand information from the prosecutor.