Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Sierra Leone war criminals on trial

Last summer, the war crimes tribunal in Sierra Leone has begun work. Back in the 1990s, the Revolutionary United Front rebels destroyed the small West African country. Though they didn't bother pretending to have any sort of ideology or political demands, the RUF prosecuted one of the most vicious and savage wars the 'modern' world has seen. Their most infamous signature was using a scythe to chop off the arms or hands of their victims (be they 80 years old or 2 years old, combattant or civilian). They were deeply implicated in the blood diamonds trade, which was used to finance the mass terror. They kidnapped children to be used soldiers, some as young as ten, drugged them up and gave them Kalashnikovs to terrorize everyone in site. They forced many children to kill their own family members in order to diminish the likelihood of desertion, essentially turning the social structure upside down. And that's not counting the cold-blooded murder, pillaging, gang rape and sexual slavery. Northern Uganda's so-called Lord's Resistance Army apparently took inspiration from the RUF.

Earlier this week, the tribunal started hearing the cases against three prominent members of the 1997-98 AFRC military government, which really wasn't little better than the RUF. The three were accused of murder, rape, sexual slavery and recruiting child soldiers.

These people were scum of the worst kind who inflicted incomprehensible suffering on innocent bystanders. Give them the justice they so savagely stole from their victims and let them rot in jail cells for the rest of their pathetic lives.

Now all that's needed is for them to be joined by former Liberian warlord and dictator Charles Taylor, who's in cushy exile in Nigeria.

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