The Power to Prosecute: the Special Court for Sierra Leone from a Defence Perspective

in International Criminal Law Review
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Abstract

The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) is a unique attempt by the international community to respond to conflict via a hybrid, in situ tribunal. In the Court's creation and operation key policy, judicial and institutional decisions- innovative elements of the SCSL structure, have impacted adversely on the rights of the accused and the broader social and justice-oriented obligations towards Sierra Leone and the international community. This paper considers the Court's hybridity, and questions the resulting opportunity afforded for participation by Sierra Leone in the post-conflict process; the Court's in situ nature and witness protection measures that may act to unnecessarily restrict the accused's right to a fair and public trial; the Court's interpretation of its jurisdiction over "those bearing greatest responsibility"; the noveland perhaps premature inclusion of the crime of child combatants; and finally, institutional decisions over the Defence Office and the capacity for equality of arms.

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