Following over a decade long civil war, the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) closes it doors finally completing it’s mission. The court came into creation during the Sierra Leone Civil War, which lasted 11 years, from 1991-2002. This grueling war began with an intervention from the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), a rebel group set out to change the government of Sierra Leone.
The RUF attempted to overthrow the current government of Sierra Leone by taking over large parts of the Sierra Leone territory, which was plentiful with diamonds. Although the Sierra Leone Army undertook efforts to try and fight off the rebel army, they were unfortunately ineffective. As a new government made its way to take over the country, a wave of murder, looting and rape ran through the country.
After almost eight years of civil war, world leaders began to intervene to try and put an end to this chaos. Negotiations were established with the RUF, in which the Lome Peace Accord was signed and agreed upon. This agreement pardoned the RUF and set up a commission to document any violations of international humanitarian law. Unfortunately, this agreement did not last long and the RUF hostilities began again.
The war finally came to an end in 2002, with the help of the United Kingdom and the United Nations, the RUF was finally defeated after over 50,000 lives had been lost. By the request of the Sierra Leone President, the Special Court of Sierra Leone was created in order to try those who bear the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law committed within the country since 1996.
The court now receives praise by the UN for its many accomplishments completing countless trials of former leaders of the country, the most well known trial being that of former Liberian President Charles Taylor. The Court has not only accomplished its original objectives but has also become a role model for other international courts. The Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone will now succeed the SCSL, answering to early release applications of convicts and any necessary legal duties, will now succeed the court. By setting an example for other international tribunals, there is a hope that this will only be the beginning to more achievements to bringing justice worldwide.
Should there be more tribunals created to handle specific situations within the international world? Will other international tribunals created to accomplish similar means, be able to close their doors knowing they completed their goals?