On 7 March 2003, Koroma was indicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
The indictment pertained to crimes against humanity, violation of Art. 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II and other serious violations of international humanitarian law with respect to Articles 2, 3 and 4 of the Court’s Statute.
According to the indictment, at the time covered by the allegations, Johnny Paul Koroma was the head of the AFRC and as such exercised authority, command and control over all the members of the AFRC. In his capacity as Head of State during the Junta regime, he wielded command and control over all the members of the AFRC/RUF alliance, as well as over the armed forces and the Sierra Leonean police.
Koroma, together with the RUF and the AFRC allegedly shared the same common plan, purpose or design, thereby constituting a common criminal enterprise which consisted of taking the necessary concerted actions to take over power and the control of the Sierra Leonean territory, in particular the regions where the diamond mines were located.
This joint criminal enterprise was said, notably, to include seizing power and taking control over the people in order to prevent or minimise any opposition to their control over the territory and to use the local population as a support for the RUF/AFRC. The acts of terrorism, murder, abductions, forced labour, physical and sexual violence, use of child soldiers, looting, and burning of civilian property as alleged in the indictment were allegedly committed within the context of a joint criminal enterprise or at the very least were the foreseeable consequence of it.
According to the indictment, Koroma was considered to be criminally responsible for the above mentioned crimes, which he allegedly planned, instigated, ordered and for which in any other way lent his support or which were committed in the context of a joint criminal enterprise in which he participated.
In addition or along parallel lines the indictment held him to be responsible as hierarchical superior for acts committed by his subordinates for which he had, or should have had advance knowledge, and because he did not take the necessary measures with a view to prevent or punish these acts.
On the basis of acts or omissions committed directly by himself or by reason of his responsibility as hierarchical superior, Johnny Paul Koroma was accused of:
- crimes against humanity for acts of extermination, murder, rape, sexual slavery, other forms of sexual violence, enslavement as well as for other inhumane acts; - violation of Art. 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II for acts of terrorism and collective punishment of the civilian population, violence to life, health and physical or mental well-being, outrages upon personal dignity, pillage, abduction and taking of hostages; - other serious violations of international humanitarian law by the enrolment of children less than 15 years of age in the armed forces and for intentionally directing attacks against personnel involved in humanitarian assistance or peacekeeping forces.
Johnny Paul Koroma went into hiding in January 2003 and was never arrested. On 1st June 2003 he was declared dead in neighbouring Liberia under mysterious circumstances.
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
Protection of humanitarian personnel and objects 12.05.2010