The Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone (RSCSL) has granted conditional early release to Special Court convict Allieu Kondewa. He was returned to Sierra Leone late on Sunday from Rwanda, where he was serving a 20-year sentence on conviction for five counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during Sierra Leone’s civil conflict.
Kondewa, the former Civil Defence Forces Initiator and High Priest, will be allowed to serve the remainder of his sentence in his community in Bo, subject to strict conditions and monitoring. His full term will end in 2023.
This conditional early release, the second for the RSCSL, marks further progress for the Court toward completing
its mandate. Six convicted persons remain in prison, serving sentences ranging from 25 to 52 years.
Kondewa applied for consideration for conditional early release in September 2016, after serving two-thirds of his
sentence. In December 2016, RSCSL President Justice Renate Winter decided that he had met the requirements for
On 29 May 2017, following input from witnesses, the Registrar and the Prosecutor, and after consultation with the Judges who participated in his sentencing, Justice Winter granted his application. She ordered, however, that Kondewa remain in prison while undergoing additional training on human rights and correct behaviour as a citizen of Sierra Leone.
In addition to the requirement that Kondewa abide by conditions to which he agreed, as set out in the RSCSL’s Practice Direction on Conditional Early Release, Justice Winter ordered four special conditions: He must publicly apologize for his wrongful conduct, acknowledge his guilt and show remorse; Neither he nor any person acting on his behalf may seek to harm, intimidate or interfere with witnesses who testified at his trial; He must conduct himself honourably and peacefully in the community and not engage in secret meetings intended to plan civil unrest, nor join local or national politics; and he must report in person to the Monitoring Authority (the Sierra Leone Police) at least twice a month.
RSCSL funding is based on voluntary contributions, and as such it continues to face funding challenges to meet its obligations and to cement the legacy of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The Court continues to seek contributions to complete its work.