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Sierra Leone justice elected as new president of war crimes court

[JURIST] Justice Jon Kamanda [official profile] was elected [press release, PDF] on Monday to a one-year term as the president of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) [official website; JURIST news archive]. Kamanda had served as a SCSL vice-president since 2007. Prior to his involvement with the SCSL, Kamanda enjoyed an extensive legal career [UPI report], including time in the Sierra Leone government as the Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources and Minister of Health. Kamanda succeeds [UN press release] Justice Renate Winter, who had served as the president of the SCSL since last May. Justice Emmanuel Ayoola of Nigeria will replace Kamana as Vice-President.

The election of Kamana is mostly a symbolic gesture, as the only remaining indictee of the SCSL is former Liberian president Charles Taylor [case materials; JURIST news archive]. Taylor's trail began in Sierra Leone, but was moved to the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] for security reasons, where he has denied war crimes allegations [JURIST reports]. Last week, eight men found guilty of war crimes by the SCSL were transferred [JURIST report] to Rwanda after it was determined that Sierra Leone did not have adequate prison facilities. Three of the men had their appeals rejected [JURIST report] last month by the SCSL.

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