Prosecutor v. Sesay et. al. (RUF)

Case Name: 
Prosecutor v. Sesay et. al. (RUF)
SCSL-04-15-T (Trial Chamber Judgement)
Decision Date: 
March 2, 2009
Key Facts: 

The armed conflict in Sierra Leone, from 1991 until 2002, opposed members of the Revolutionary United Front and Armed Forces Revolutionary Council to Civil Defense Forces, loyal to the ousted President Kabbah. Trial Chamber I convicted Sesay et al., as high-ranking members of the RUF, for several counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Among other convictions, the Trial Chamber found Gbao liable under Article 6(1) of the Statute for aiding and abetting the attacks on Salahuedin and Jaganathan at the Makump DDR camp in Bombali District on 1 May 2000, charged in Count 15 of the Indictment.


1. “Practical or material assistance, encouragement or moral support, which has a substantial effect on the perpetration of a certain crime” (¶ 276)

2. Knowledge that the acts assist the commission of the principal crime (¶ 280)

Key Passages : 

ACTUS REUS: “[P]roof of a cause-effect relationship between the conduct of the aider or abettor and the commission of the crime, or proof that such conduct served as a condition precedent to the commission of the crime, is not required”(¶ 277). “Further, taking into account the specific wording of Article 6 (1) of the Statute … this Chamber is of the opinion that the actus reus of aiding and abetting a crime may occur before, during, or after the principal crime has been perpetrated and at a location geographically removed from the location of the principal crime. If the aiding and abetting occurs after the crime, it must be established that a prior agreement existed between the principal and the person who subsequently aided and abetted in the commission of the crime” (¶ 278).

MENS REA: “In the case of specific intent offences, the aider and abettor need not possess the principal offender’s intent, but must have knowledge that the principal offender possessed the specific intent required” (¶ 280).

Trial Chamber