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Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Special Court for Sierra Leone - Essay Example

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Running Head: The Special Court for Sierra Leone Name Institution Date Introduction Sierra Leone a West African country was entangled in conflict for about eleven years. This conflict was characterized by acts of violence against the citizens of the country from various fronts…
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Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Special Court for Sierra Leone
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Download file to see previous pages After the end of the conflict, the citizens of Sierra Leone wanted the individual responsible for the conflict and the atrocities that followed to be held accountable for their actions and face justice. Nevertheless, the country at the time did not have an established judicial system and the necessary infrastructure to bring these perpetrators into book (Nzongola-Ntalaja 2000). Furthermore, the existence of Lome Peace Agreement of 1999 was a big hindrance to the courts in the country to indict the alleged perpetrators as they were given a blanket amnesty by the aforementioned agreement. For this reason, there was an urgent need to form a court that would be capable of addressing the situation in the country, thus, the formation of The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL). The United Nations Security Council and the government of Sierra Leone agreed to form The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) which was established in the year 2002 on a request from Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, the then president of Sierra Leone. Unlike the courts established by the United Nations Security Council to deal with the perpetrators of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia and the Rwandan genocide, the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) was able to dispense a diverse judicial model hence characterized as a hybrid tribunal so to speak. The main aim of the special court for Sierra Leone was to deal with the post conflict justice expeditiously, and in a more economical way unlike the local courts and tribunals in the country which were slow and more expensive, not to mention their inability to respond to the plight of the citizens in the country (Murphy 2003). This court was characterized by new ways of handling judicial processes in the post conflict situations. Such characteristics include the pressure to accomplish its mandate expeditiously, use of a very tight budget, and its location. Discussion The composition of the court includes both international and local judges, counsel, and employees. This composition allows the court to administer justice without undue influence from the domestic or international pressure. The mandate of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) is to try the persons suspected of having the greatest responsibility in perpetrating the violence that ensued in Sierra Leone during the 11 years conflict. It is worth noting that this special court is independent in its operation from the domestic legal system of Sierra Leone and as such, the court uses limited statutory guidelines from the country’s criminal law and heavily depend on international humanitarian law in its proceedings (Stover 2005). The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) statute empowers the court to prosecute violations of Article 3 under the Geneva Convention, international humanitarian law violations, and crimes against humanity. One of the major strengths witnessed in the operation of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) is the responsiveness of the court in the witness protection and management, since most of them are victims of the atrocities that ensued in Sierra Leone. The court has continued to ensure that the witness feel protected and safe during and after their testimony. This has been done by involving a variety of security resources as well as new psychosocial support program. The ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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