Taylor, last chance for the Sierra Leone model

04 June 2007 by Sylvain Savolainen

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor's trial will open before the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) on June 4. The Court has been relocated to the Hague [IJT-44] to try the case, which will be both its most important trial and its last. The Special Court, which was created in 2002, was expected to last just three years. In the end, it will have taken eight years to try nine individuals. And the jury is still out as to whether the Court will live up to expectations.

The SCSL was supposed to stand as a new "model" for international criminal justice. The Court had several novel aspects: a narrowly focused mandate, founded in a strategy of limited prosecutions; justice carried out in the country where the crimes were committed before a mixed court composed of both Sierra Leoneans and members of the international community (to enhance the national impact); and a tightly controlled budget based on voluntary contributions.

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