Sierra Leone: NPWJ meets with key stakeholders to discuss SCSL impact and foster adoption of ICC Implementing Legislation

24 Feb, 2012 | Press Releases

On 21-24 February 2012, a No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) Delegation, led by Alison Smith, Coordinator of the International Criminal justice Program, visited Sierra Leone to meet and discuss with key stakeholders, including the Registrar of the Special Court of Sierra Leone (SCSL), issues related to the Legacy Survey of the SCSL. The Legacy Survey is being carried out this year by NPWJ in partnership with Manifesto99, the Coalition for Justice and Accountability and the Sierra Leone Institute for International Law and the Liberian NGO Network. Its purpose is to assess the impact and legacy of the SCSL, as the principal accountability mechanism to try those who bear the greatest responsibility for the crimes committed during the conflict in that country since 30 November 1996. This will be done through the administration of questionnaires in Sierra Leone and Liberia to specific target groups, such as legal professionals, political actors, security sector, civil society and so on, and to randomly selected members of the general public.

Considering that the mandate of the SCSL is near to completion (the three cases heard in Freetown have been completed, including appeals, and the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor is concluded, with the verdict due in the next months), the importance for the SCSL to leave a tangible legacy in terms of justice, reconciliation and the rule of law, for the Government and people of Sierra Leone, and also possibly for future international criminal justice initiatives in Africa, presents a challenge and an opportunity. Since 2004, the SCSL developed a number of different projects aimed at expanding its outreach and capacity building activity to involve the population in its work, as well as at yielding concrete benefits to the national judicial system.

On 23 February 2012, NPWJ also contributed to a workshop on “Implementing Legislation of the Rome Statute”, which was held in Freetown. The meeting, which included civil society and NGOs representatives, aimed at advocating for the adoption of national legislation implementing international criminal justice obligations and cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC).

NPWJ 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.
In the subsequent years, NPWJ has also been working in Sierra Leone on ICC issues, including implementing legislation, holding a national seminar on the issue in December 2006 and a series of regional roundtable discussions in 2007 and 2008.

For further information, please contact Alison Smith on or +32-(0)2-548-3912 or Nicola Giovannini on or +32-(0)2-548-3915.