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Sierra Leone Tribunal Hands Down Final Rulings

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The U.N.-backed war crimes court for Sierra Leone has upheld prison sentences for three rebel leaders convicted of crimes against humanity.

The court's appeals chamber Monday confirmed sentences of 52 years for Issa Hassan Sesay, 40 years for Morris Kallon, and 25 years for Augustine Gbao.

The three rebels were convicted of overseeing a series of rapes and killings during Sierra Leone's 1991 to 2002 civil war.

The Special Court for Sierra Leone is now due to shut down operations in the country's capital, Freetown.

The court is still conducting the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor, who is accused of supporting Sierra Leone rebels. However, that case is being heard at The Hague, in the Netherlands, because of security concerns.

The court says it expects judges to issue a ruling in the Taylor case next July. If convicted, he could appeal.

The Special Court for Sierra Leone was set up to try those deemed most responsible for atrocities during the civil war, in which an estimated 120,000 people were killed.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.