Trial began on 5 June 2004 before the Special Court for Sierra Leone; convicted of 14 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment on 8 April 2009; sentence confirmed by the Appeals Chamber on 26 October 2009
Augustine Gbao, also known as Augustine Bao, a former police officer, was born on 13 August 1948 in Blama in the district of Kenema, Sierra Leone.
According to the bill of indictment, at the time of the alleged events, Gbao was a “senior officer” and Commander in the RUF (Revolutionary United Front) in the Junta as well as in the RFU/AFRC (Armed Forces Revolutionary Council).
He reportedly joined the RUF in 1991 in Liberia.
Before the coup d’état, he was alleged to have been Commander of the RUF Internal Defence Unit and between 1996 and 1998 “Senior Commander” of the RUF in control of the region of Kailahun.
During this period he was said to be subordinate only to the RUF Battlefield Commander, as well as to Foday Sankoh and Paul Koroma, respectively the leaders of the RUF and the AFRC.
Between 1998 and 2002, he was alleged to be Overall Security Commander in the RUF/AFRC forces, a position in which he was said to have been responsible for all of the Intelligence and Security units within the RUF/AFRC forces, and subordinate only to Foday Sankoh and Paul Koroma.
From March 1999 until January 2002, he was also the joint Commander of the RUF/AFRC forces in the Makeni area.
According to the accusation, Augustine Gbao, personally or in concert with other leaders of the RUF and the AFRC, exercised control, authority and command over subordinates in the RUF, the Junta and the armed forces of the RUF/AFRC.
During the period covered by the indictment, the RUF and the AFRC, acting in concert with, or under the orders of Gbao led a campaign of armed attacks throughout the territory of Sierra Leone, according to the bill of indictment. The principal targets of these attacks were civilians and humanitarian assistance personnel as well as United Nations peacekeepers. These attacks were carried out primarily to terrorize the civilian population, but were also used to punish the population for failing to provide sufficient support to the RUF/AFRC alliance.
The attacks included unlawful killings, physical and sexual violence against civilians and looting of property.
As part of the campaign of terror, the alliance is reported to have routinely captured and abducted women and girls to rape and used them as sex slaves. They also carried off men and boys to make them work and abducted children were enrolled by force in the conflict.
Augustine Gbao was arrested and transferred to the SCSL in March 2003.
Trial Watch would like to remind its users that any person charged by national or international authorities is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Crimes against humanity
Deprivation of life
Infringment of physical integrity
Forbidden methods or means or warfare
Protection of civilians 01.04.2010