The body of war crimes convict Alex Tamba Brima, commonly known as “Gullit”, was returned Saturday to Freetown, where it was turned over to family members by officials of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone. Brima, who died on 9 June 2016 at King Faisal Hospital in Kigali, Rwanda, had served 13 years of a 50-year sentence for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during Sierra Leone’s eleven-year civil war.
An autopsy conducted by King Faisal Hospital gave the cause of Brima’s death as thrombotic peripheral arterial disease with gangrene of both feet.
Brima was hospitalised in Kigali on 1 May 2016. Doctors had advised Brima that, due to the gangrene, they would need to amputate his feet in order to save his life, a procedure which was available in Rwanda. Brima refused, and said he would only agree to treatment if he were taken to Europe or North America.
Brima was convicted on 20 June 2007 on eleven counts, including for acts of terrorism, collective punishments, extermination, murder (a crime against humanity), murder (a war crime), rape, outrages upon personal dignity, physical violence, conscripting or enlisting children under the age of 15 years into armed forces or groups, or using them to participate actively in hostilities, enslavement, and pillage. He was sentenced to a 50 years in prison, with credit given for time served from March 2003. On 22 February 2008 the Appeals Chamber upheld both his conviction and his sentence.