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Sierra Leone

The Sierra Leone Civil War began in 1991 and lasted until 2002 (officially declared end: 18 January). Tens of thousands died and over one-third of the population (more than 2 million people) were displaced. Neighbour countries needed to host significant numbers of refugees.

The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) is based on an UN Security Council resolution of 2000. The resolution mandated the UN Secretary-General to negotiate about the SCSL creation as it was requested by the president of Sierra Leone at that time. The SCSL was set up jointly with the Government of Sierra Leone in 2002. Its mandate is to try those who bear the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law committed after 30 November 1996 during the Sierra Leone Civil War. The court is located in the capital of Sierra Leone, Freetown.

Several accused have been indicted so far for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other violations of international humanitarian law. The most prominent case, against the former Liberian president Charles Taylor, has been transferred to the seat of the ICC in The Hague for security reasons, but it remains under the auspices of the SCSL.

In addition, there has been the Sierra Leone truth commission with the mandate to establish a record of human rights abuses from 1991 to 1999, to address impunity, to promote reconciliation, and to prevent a repetition of such events. It operated between 2002 and 2004 and was composed of seven commissioners, four from Sierra Leone and three from abroad. The commission has presented a 5000-page report contains testimonies, history, facts and recommendations. The process of implementation however was not straight-forward, with several criticisms of delays of implementation of the recommendations.

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Last change: 04.05.10 - 10:36