Presiding judges elected to Sierra Leone war crimes court

Presiding judges elected to Sierra Leone war crimes court

Judges serving on a "mixed court" set up to try war crimes in Sierra Leone have elected from among themselves two to preside over key chambers, the United Nations and the Freetown Government announced today.

Judges serving on a "mixed court" set up to try war crimes in Sierra Leone have elected from among themselves two to preside over key chambers, the United Nations and the Freetown Government announced today.

Geoffrey Robertson of the United Kingdom and Bankole Thompson of Sierra Leone will preside over the Appeals Chamber and the Trial Chamber, respectively.

The current Acting Registrar of the Special Court, Robin Vincent, was also appointed to serve as the official Registrar as of 1 January.

The mixed composition of the Court is unique to the UN, which has created international criminal tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia employing only foreign - not national - judges. The Sierra Leone Special Court is mandated to try persons deemed most responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other violations of international humanitarian law during the country's decade-long civil conflict.

Although no cases have yet been put forward, the prosecution has begun its work, which will kick the court into action in the period ahead.