Special Court of Sierra Leone closes its door after completing mandate

[JURIST] The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) [official website] on Monday officially handed over its premises to the Sierra Leone government in its final act of its 11-year existence. The court was created in 2002 by the UN and Sierra Leone's government for the purpose of trying eight former Sierra Leonean militia leaders and former Liberian President Charles Taylor [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] for their involvement in the country's decade-long civil war [BBC timeline]. The court is now the first international tribunal [Sierra Media Express report] created by the UN to have completed its mandate successfully and handed over power to its successor institution. The courthouse that it used will now be home to the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone [VOA report].

Convicting Taylor was the final major act the SCSL completed before it could begin the process of dissolution. Taylor was transferred last month [JURIST report] to the UK to serve out the 50-year sentence given to him by the court. He attempted to appeal his conviction in September, but the court denied the appeal [JURIST report]. Besides trying war criminals, the court also in 2012 sentenced four men for interfering with justice by bribing witnesses in the trials of some of the convicted war criminals, as well as arrested Taylor's attorney [JURIST report] for allegedly interfering with prosecution witnesses.

 

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