The SCSL and NPWJ launch “Making Justice Count: Assessing the impact and legacy of the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Sierra Leone and Liberia”

7 Jan, 2013 | Press Releases

Freetown, Sierra Leone, 07 January 2013


On Monday, 7 January 2013,  No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ), together with the Special Court for Sierra Leone, launched the survey “Making Justice Count: Assessing the impact and legacy of the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Sierra Leone and Liberia”, at the premises of the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The survey was commissioned, after the issuance of Charles Taylor sentence at the end of May 2012, by the Special Court for Sierra Leone, with funding from the European Union, and conducted by NPWJ and its Sierra Leonean and Liberian partners.

The purpose of the survey was to capture people’s understanding about the mandate and operations of the SCSL and establish its impact through its judicial proceedings, its legacy work and its outreach program. The survey was administered throughout Sierra Leone and Liberia to 2,841 people, representing diverse walks of life, sexes and age groups, with an emphasis on ensuring the inclusion of historically overlooked voices, including women, young people and persons with disabilities.

The report was officially launched by Mr Joseph Kamara, Chair of Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission and former Deputy Prosecutor of the Special Court, who spoke about the impact of the SCSL on his own work fighting corruption and on the Sierra Leone legal system and political and social life more broadly. Participants also included SCSL Registrar, Ms Binta Mansaray and Principal Defender, Ms Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles; Civil Society representatives from Sierra Leone and Liberia; and NPWJ’s partners in Sierra Leone and Liberia, namely the Coalition for Justice and Accountability, the Liberia NGOs Network (LINKK), Manifesto 99 and the Sierra Leone Institute for International Law.

Statement by Alison Smith, Legal Counsel and Director of the International Criminal Justice Program of No Peace Without Justice:

“No Peace Without Justice is grateful to the Special Court for Sierra Leone, for the cooperation they have shown as we have carried out this work, the survey enumerators, who worked long and hard to bring us these results and its Sierra Leonean and Liberian partners. It was a great privilege to work with them, both on this survey and over the last more than twelve years, since we first started working with them on these issues in July 2000. But above all, we would like to thank the 2,841 people throughout Sierra Leone and Liberia who gave us their time, their thoughts and their perceptions; the Court was really established for them and without them, none of this would have been possible..

“The survey highlights the wide and deep impact the Court has had on ending impunity, strengthening the rule of law, restoring peace and bringing victims a sense of redress. It also demonstrates that much of this success can be attributed to the work of the Outreach section and to the vision established during the early stages of the Court of it being an institution embedded in and responsive to the expectations and needs of the people of Sierra Leone and Liberia.

“The SCSL has succeeded in reaching out to the people who suffered so much at the hands of those indicted and judged before it, allowing justice not only to be done, but to be seen to be done by the people of Sierra Leone and Liberia. It is now essential that lessons learned are taken on board to ensure that the SCSL leaves a meaningful and consolidated legacy for justice, reconciliation and the rule of law, for the governments and people of Sierra Leone and Liberia, as well as for future international criminal justice initiatives, including the ongoing work of the International Criminal Court”.

No Peace Without Justice and Sierra Leone
NPWJ has a long standing commitment to Sierra Leone, including a wide-ranging program in the country from 2000 to 2004 that was designed to contribute to the accountability process for violations of international criminal law. That program contributed to the establishment and functioning of the Special Court and to strengthening Sierra Leonean society’s ability to address violations of human rights and humanitarian law, with a particular focus on outreach and conflict mapping. In recent years, NPWJ has been working in Sierra Leone on ICC issues, including implementing legislation and holding seminars and round table discussions, and on FGM. NPWJ will continue with its involvement in Sierra Leone to facilitate the government and local stakeholders participating in and influencing the processes for maintaining the rule of law, peace and stability.

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