Tuesday, June 01, 2010

War Crimes: Sierra Leonean judge re-elected head of war crimes tribunal

UN - Justice Jon Kamanda of Sierra Leone has been re-elected to serve as President of the United Nations-backed war crimes tribunal set up to deal with the worst acts committed during the long and brutal civil war in the West African nation.

This will be his second term as the Presiding Judge of the appeals chamber, a post which automatically makes him the President of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL).

Justice Emmanuel Ayoola of Nigeria, who previously served as the court's President, also also been re-elected as Vice-President, according to a press release issued today by the court from Freetown, the capital.

The SCSL's judges wrapped up their 14th plenary on Friday in The Hague, voicing “sincere appreciation and gratitude” to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the use of its courtroom and other support for the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, who is under indictment for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The Special Court is an independent tribunal established jointly by Sierra Leone's Government and the UN in 2002. It is mandated to try those who bear the greatest responsibility for atrocities committed in Sierra Leone after 30 November 1996.

Last September, the eight prisoners convicted and held by the SCSL were transferred to Rwanda to serve their sentences since no prison in Sierra Leone meets the required international standards. The remaining trial, involving Mr. Taylor, is continuing at The Hague, where it was moved for security reasons.

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