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Public International Law: Special Court for Sierra Leone

This guide highlights key resources for international law research.

Finding Books

The following subject searches are recommended to identifying multiformat books about the Special Court.

  • Special Court for Sierra Leone
  • Trials (Crimes against humanity)—Sierra Leone
  • War crime trials—Sierra Leone

Basic Documents

Through the Document tab you have easy access to the following basic documents:

  • Agreement between the United Nations and the Government of Sierra Leone on the Establishment of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (January 16, 2002)
  • Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (annexed to the Agreement, January 16, 2002)
  • Special Court Agreement Ratification Act (2002)
  • Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone Agreement Ratification Act (2012)
  • Rules of Procedure and Evidence
  • Rules of Detention
  • Sentence Enforcement Agreements
  • Headquarters Agreement between the Republic of Sierra Leone and the Special Court for Sierra Leone

Citation

Background

The Special Court for Sierra Leone was formed to prosecute offenders of international humanitarian law and the laws of Sierra Leone beginning November 30, 1996 and continuing to the present day. The Court was established by the Agreement Between the United Nations and the Government of Sierra Leone on the Establishment of a Special Court pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1315 (2000). The Agreement was signed on January 16, 2002. On February 1, 2012, the government of Sierra Leone and the United Nations entered into The Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone Agreement (Ratification) Act, 2012 which established a residual court to carry out the Special Court's necessary duties after it has closed.

The conflict in Sierra Leone is complicated and there have not been many books written about the Court and its mission. The following resources are recommended to learn more about the Court:

The Court

The Court has two Trial Chambers and one Appeals Chamber. Each Trial Chamber consists of three Judges: one appointed by the Government of Sierra Leone, two by the United Nations Secretary-General, and, in the case of the trial for former President Charles Taylor, one alternate judge appointed by the Secretary General. The Appeals Chamber consists of five Judges: two appointed by the Government of Sierra Leone and three appointed by the Secretary-General. The Presiding Judge of the Appeals Chamber is the President of the Court and is elected by a majority of the votes of the Judges appointed to the Appeals Chamber for a renewable term of one year. The Judges are appointed for a renewable term of three years. The judges profiles are available at the Court web site.

Other important material for participants that are available from the Court Documents page include:

  • Practice Directions for Counsel
  • Code of Professional Conduct for Counsel
  • Code of Ethics for Interpreters and Translators
  • Best Practices for the Protection and Support of Witnesses (under the Other Court Documents heading)

Cases:

There is no official print reporter for the Special Court for Sierra Leone. However, the Court makes its materials available in PDF form via its Court Records Documenting System. In addition, by using the Cases tab on the landing page for the Court, you can access more detailed information about each individual case, including a summary of the charges and proceedings.

The Court calendar is also available to browse online.