Special Court for Sierra Leone

The Special Court for Sierra Leone was set up jointly by the Government of Sierra Leone and the United Nations. It is mandated to try those who bear the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law committed in the territory of Sierra Leone since 30 November 1996.

Currently, the three cases heard in Freetown have been completed, including appeals. The trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor is in the Defence phase at The Hague.

The challenges in informing Sierra Leoneans beyond Freetown about the work of the Court generally, and the trial process in particular are many and varied. A number of communities are isolated, with limited communications infrastructure. There are also a number of different languages and dialects and levels of literacy are low. Outreach takes into account all of these factors and has designed a programme, which is flexible and needs-based. A nationwide network of Outreach officers, some of whom reach many communities by motorbike, is supported by a central office in Freetown. Outreach organises events within Freetown and across the nation for representatives of Registry, Defence and Prosecution to communicate their messages to Sierra Leoneans through town hall meetings, school meetings, seminars, training and radio panel discussions.