SPECIAL COURT FOR SIERRA LEONE: First Convictions On Recruitment And Use Of Child Soldiers

New York, 21 June 2007 – Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict welcomes the judgment of the Special Court for Sierra Leone against three former leaders of the Sierra Leone's former Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC).

This marks the first conviction by an international tribunal for the recruitment and use of child soldiers in armed conflict.

"This first verdict sends a strong signal to the perpetrators and it will have a crucial deterrence effect. These crimes have to stop. This first triple conviction will motivate the international community to pursue its fight against impunity" said, Ms. Coomaraswamy.

Alex Tamba Brima, Brima Bazzy Kamara and Santigie Borbor Kanu were found guilty on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the conscripting or enlisting of children under 15 years into armed forces or groups, or using them to participate actively in hostilities.

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For further information, please contact:

Laurence Gerard, Liaison Officer, OSRSG Children and Armed Conflict, UNHQ, New York. Phone: 1 212 963 0984 – gerardl@un.org –