Deputy Prosecutor promoted at Special Court for Sierra Leone
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today appointed Deputy Prosecutor Desmond de Silva the new Prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, which is trying those accused of responsibility for serious crimes during the West African country's bloody civil war.
Mr. de Silva, a 40-year veteran of the English Bar who was admitted to the Sierra Leonean Bar in 1969, will replace Prosecutor David Crane of the United States, who opted not to renew his contract when it ends in July.
During the past three years Mr. de Silva and Mr. Crane worked closely to develop and execute the prosecutorial strategy for the Special Court for Sierra Leone. As Deputy Prosecutor, Mr. de Silva oversaw the Appellate Section within the Office of the Prosecutor.
Mr. De Silva, a 65-year-old Queen's Counsel and a Middle Temple graduate, became the youngest appointee to the English Judicial Bench in 1975. His chambers now include 60 barristers and eight Queen's Counsel. His cases include 174 murder trials, as well as cases of espionage, aircraft hijacking and treason in Britain and the Commonwealth.
The Special Court is an independent tribunal established jointly by the United Nations, under a Security Council resolution, and the Government of Sierra Leone to try serious violations of international humanitarian law, such as war crimes and crimes against humanity, from 1996, during the 1991-2002 civil war.
Eleven persons associated with all three of the country's former warring factions stand indicted by the Court, charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international humanitarian law.