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Vol 44 No 4

Published 21st February 2003

Sierra Leone

Model justice, for some

War crimes trials start this year but the causes of the war still fester

Some 20 to 30 people accused of the most heinous crimes in Sierra Leone's brutal civil war are to be tried this year at the Special Court in Freetown, operating from Slovenian-made prefabricated buildings. The Court, whose President is the London-based barrister Geoffrey Robertson, is meant to be more effective than the widely derided and under-resourced tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania, on the Rwandan genocide. Set up last August, the Court wants to complete its investigations in June and issue indictments soon after. The hope is that a swift trial of the accused will help reconciliation. Distrust from the war era lingers, shown by the recent coup plotting accusations against former military leader Johnny Paul Koroma.

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