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Sierra Leone: indicted war criminal sanctioned over possible effort to cause unrest

21 January A former senior Sierra Leonean official indicted for war crimes has had all his communications except those with his lawyers restricted for 14 days after an intercept linked him to attempts to cause civil unrest, the United Nations-backed special court in the West African country said today.

Former Internal Affairs Minister Sam Hinga Norman was indicted in March for acts ranging from murder, sexual slavery and rape, to forced conscription of children and attacks on UN peacekeepers during a decade's worth of atrocities and human rights violations.

The Registrar of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), which contains a mix of international and national judges, took the step after a telephone intercept recorded late on Monday indicated that Mr. Norman was involved in coordinating activities calculated to cause civil unrest in Sierra Leone.

According to an SCSL statement last October, Mr. Norman's lawyers were preparing to argue that he could not be indicted for recruiting child soldiers because there were no international statutes against the practice.

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