The Special Court for Sierra Leone: Establishment, Jurisdiction and Fight against Impunity



The SCSL as a criminal court which belongs to the third generation of international criminal courts was established in 2002. There are a number of unique features about the SCSL as compared to the ICTY and ICTR. The court has been set up by an agreement between the Government of Sierra Leone and United Nations; it was at the invitation of Sierra Leone that negotiations for a court for this country began. This contrasts with the Special Court's predecessors; ICTY and ICTR which have been imposed upon rather than being requested by the countries involved. Unlike the mentioned Tribunals, the SCSL was to sit in the country where crimes under its jurisdiction took place and it would also be a "hybrid tribunal"; a mixed international and national court, whose statute contains provisions under international criminal law, international humanitarian law, and Sierra Leone domestic law, and also its structure ensures a mixture of local and international staff throughout the Court. The mandate of SCSL is to try those persons who bear the greatest responsibility for international and national crimes committed within the territory of Sierra Leone since 30 November 1996, including leaders of RUF, AFRC, CDF and also Charles Taylor, the President of Liberia, who committed these crimes.