Sierra Leone 'blood diamond' rebels found guilty of war crimes
Three Sierra Leone rebel leaders were convicted today of war crimes including murder, rape and sexual enslavement.
Issa Sesay, Morris Kallon and Augustine Gbao were all thought to have ordered their troops to cut off opponents' hands or other limbs to get their hands on what are called 'blood diamonds'. They were found guilty of 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity they ordered and performed during the decade long war that left Sierra Leone a mere shell of what it once used to be.
The UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone tried the criminals about the war when more than 120,000 people were killed and tens of thousands more mutilated, all of which was bankrolled by charles Taylor, the president of Liberia, who paid for the blood diamonds in weapons.
"Today's judgement (...) respects the suffering of the multitude of victims who were mutilated or enslaved, who were murdered or raped, and who were rendered homeless or destitute," said Stephen Rapp, the court's prosecutor.
Child soldiers also made up a large percentage of the fighting forces in Sierra Leone during this time, and they, along with the other units of the RUF (Revolutionary United Front) were the most feared of all in one of the world's most dangerous civil wars.
Charles Taylor is currently on trial in the Hague, but there is now danger that he may be set free because the court is having trouble finding donors due to the economic crisis.