Sierra Leone Program

NPWJ has a long standing commitment to Sierra Leone and has had a significant presence in the country from 2000 to 2004 with a wide-ranging program designed to contribute to the accountability process for violations of international criminal law. The Sierra Leone program has contributed to the establishment and functioning of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and to strengthening the ability of Sierra Leonean society to address violations of human rights and humanitarian law. Its aim was to increase awareness and capacity on human rights and humanitarian law norms within the Sierra Leone Government and other local stakeholders, including legal professionals, civil society and the population at large, so as to enable them to participate in and influence the processes for re-establishing and maintaining the rule of law, peace and stability.

The Sierra Leone Program involved four major sub-programs, running concurrently:
(1) The Judicial Assistance Program, born from the program at the Rome Conference, was a technical assistance program that seconded expert personnel to the Office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice and to the Mission of Sierra Leone to the United Nations in New York, to assist the Government of Sierra Leone in driving the negotiations which led to the establishment and management of the Special Court. 
(2) The Outreach Program was designed to increase awareness within Sierra Leone of the mandate and operations of the Special Court, including promoting knowledge about human rights and humanitarian law issues to the public at large, across the country. The Outreach Program was carried out in partnership with local organisations, in particular a network of civil society activists who organised themselves in a “Special Court Working Group”, by building their capacity to formulate and disseminate information coherently and interactively, and in terms appropriate for the audience. The Program was conducted before the Special Court came into operation, but was then taken up by the Special Court itself after the establishment of its Outreach Section. 
(3) The Legal Profession Program, conducted in partnership with the Sierra Leone Bar Association, was designed to promote knowledge of international criminal law, human rights and humanitarian law within the legal profession in Sierra Leone and to facilitate their participation in the shaping and operation of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The Legal Profession program also facilitated direct input of Sierra Leonean legal professionals in the deliberations on the Rules of Procedures and Evidence by the Special Court judges. 
(4) The Conflict Mapping Program reconstructed the chain of events during the conflict through gathering information in the field and analysing the decision‑making processes, the order of battle and command structures of the various forces as they evolved over time and space to ascertain the role those who bear the greatest responsibility for policies of systematic and massive violations of the laws of war on the basis of the entirety of the crime-base across Sierra Leone, based on information collected in the field in every chiefdom across the country. The Conflict Mapping report was submitted to the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission in March 2004 and was admitted into evidence at the Special Court pursuant to Trial Chamber I’s “Decision on Prosecution’s Request to Admit Into Evidence Certain Documents Pursuant to Rules 92bis and 89(C)”, of 14 July 2005.

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