Prosecutor v. Tamba et al. (AFRC)

Case Name: 
Prosecutor v. Tamba et al. (AFRC)
SCSL-04-16-T (Trial Chamber Judgement)
Decision Date: 
June 20, 2007
Key Facts: 

“The Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) represented the rebel opposition group to the government of President Kabbah who was overthrown following a coup by the AFRC and Revolutionary United Front, the RUF, which formed a military junta to rule the people of Sierra Leone. Brima, Kamara and Kanu were members of the AFRC, convicted by Trial Chamber II for commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international humanitarian law. Innocent civilians including babies, young children, pregnant women, and men were made the objects of large scale and brutal attacks including murder, amputation, rape, abduction and enslavement. The Trial Chamber imposed a sentence of 50 years each on Brima and Kanu, and 45 years for Kamara.”


1. “Practical assistance, encouragement, or moral support which had a substantial effect on the perpetration of a crime” (¶ 775)

2. Knowledge that “his acts would assist the commission of the crime by the perpetrator or awareness of the substantial likelihood that his acts would assist the commission of a crime by the perpetrator” (¶ 776)

Key Passages : 

ACTUS REUS: “Such contribution may be provided directly or through an intermediary and irrespective of whether the participant was present or removed both in time and place from the actual commission of the crime. Mere presence at the scene of crime without preventing its occurrence does not per se constitute aiding and abetting. However, the presence at a crime scene of a person who is in a position of authority may be regarded as an important indication for encouragement or support” (¶ 775). Further, “[t]he Prosecution contends that a ‘persistent failure to prevent or punish crimes by subordinates over time may also constitute aiding or abetting.’ The Trial Chamber agrees that, while such failure entails a superior’s responsibility under Article 6(3) of the Statute, it may also be a basis for his liability for aiding and abetting, subject to the mens rea and actus reus requirements being fulfilled” (¶ 777).

MENS REA: “[I]t is not necessary that the aider and abettor had knowledge of the precise crime that was intended and which was actually committed, as long as he was aware that one of a number of crimes would probably be committed, including the one actually committed” (¶ 776).

Trial Chamber