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War Crimes Prosecutors Close Case Against 3 Sierra Leone Militia Leaders

Prosecutors in Sierra Leone's United Nations-backed war crimes tribunal have closed their portion of the case against three government-allied militia leaders.

The three men, Sam Hinga Norman, Moinina Fofana and Allieu Kondewa, each face an eight-count indictment that includes allegations of war crimes, murder, looting, terrorizing civilians and using child soldiers.

The trial began in June of last year and included testimony from 75 prosecution witnesses.

The men pleaded not guilty, and their defense team is scheduled to present their case starting September 16.

Two other cases at the court involving rebel commanders continue.

The war crimes court was created to try those most responsible for human rights abuses committed during Sierra Leone's civil war from 1991 to 2002. During the conflict, the government militia and opposing rebel fighters were notorious for routinely hacking the limbs off civilians, committing mass rapes, and burning people to death.

Some information for this report provided by AP.