US lawyer appointed prosecutor for Sierra Leone war crimes court News
US lawyer appointed prosecutor for Sierra Leone war crimes court

[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] on Monday appointed [press release] US lawyer Brenda Hollis as the prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) [official website]. Hollis was appointed in consultation with the government of Sierra Leone, and the appointment was effective as of February 16. Prior to her appointment, Hollis was leading the prosecution against former Liberian president Charles Taylor [JURIST news archive]. Hollis previously worked in the office of the prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda [official websites]. Hollis succeeds Stephen Rapp [official profile], who resigned last year after US President Barack Obama nominated [JURIST report] him as the US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues.

In November, the SCSL handed over its detention facility [JURIST report] to the Sierra Leone Prison Service in a monumental step towards the court's resolution. In October, eight men judged guilty of war crimes by the court were transferred [JURIST report] to Rwanda to serve out their terms. Three of the men, leaders of the Revolutionary United Front [GlobalSecurity backgrounder], had their appeals rejected [JURIST report] in October, and are now serving sentences between 15 and 25 years. With these final sentences, the SCSL has largely fulfilled its purpose and will continue taking steps to close down [BBC report]. The only remaining indictee of the SCSL is Taylor. His trial, which could take up to four years [JURIST report], is being held in The Hague due to security concerns. The SCSL was created in a joint endeavor by the government of Sierra Leone and the UN to provide a forum to try those responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law, committed in Sierra Leone.