The Special Court for Sierra Leone was a judicial body set up jointly in 2002 by the Government of Sierra Leone and the United Nations to “prosecute persons who bear the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law” committed in Sierra Leone since 30 November 1996 and during the Sierra Leone Civil War.
Thirteen indictments were issued by the Prosecutor in 2003. Two of those indictments were subsequently withdrawn in December 2003 due to the deaths of the accused. On 26 April 2012, former Liberian President Charles Taylor became the first African head of state to be convicted for his part in war crimes.
Whereas the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the one for Rwanda (ICTR) were founded through UN Security Council resolutions – thus being international/UN subsidiary organs – the Special Court for Sierra Leone is the first treaty-based ad hoc criminal tribunal.
Other defining features of the Special Court include the composition of its organs – as the judges, for examples are appointed partly by the Government of Sierra Leone and partly by the UN – and the Court’ sjurisdiction. The jurisdicion of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, in fact, embodies both international crimes and crimes of a national character, making it a mixed tribunal excercising mixed jurisdiction.
Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (EN): http://www.rscsl.org/Documents/scsl-statute.pdf