Sierra Leone UN Government finalizing plans for war crimes tribunal

On Monday, UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Hans Corell and the UN planning team paid a courtesy call on President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah for discussions on the Special Court, which would try those charged with war crimes during the country’s bloody civil war. In welcoming the team, President Kabbah said that its visit was “timely,” and expressed the wish that the Court would help bring “sustainable peace in Sierra Leone.” The President also voiced his appreciation for the commitment the international community had demonstrated through the establishment of the Special Court, expressing his conviction that “the UN will help Sierra Leone accept the rule of law.” Mr. Corell later met with tribal heads at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to outline the modalities for the operation of the Court. He emphasized the role of traditional leaders, noting that “people seek guidance from their life wisdom,” and appealed to them to “draw from other African experiences and to instil the importance of accountability through the rule of law.” In the afternoon, the planning team held a joint plenary meeting with the Government Task Force to discuss practical issues such as premises, prosecutions and investigations. The planning team is currently identifying potential sites for temporary premises. Some members of the team, led by Kenneth Fleming, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, also met with the Sierra Leone Police to discuss practical policing needs.

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