[JURIST] Prince Taylor, an investigator for the Charles Taylor [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] defense team in the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) [official website] was sentenced [judgment, PDF; APO press release] Thursday to two years on each of four counts of interfering with witnesses who had testified in the Charles Taylor trial, and 30 months for interfering with Eric Senessie, who himself was convicted [JURIST report] for interfering with witnesses. The terms are set to run concurrently, and Prince Taylor will serve a total of 30 months from October 2012, when he was arrested on charges of contempt [JURIST report]. Prince Taylor was convicted [judgment, PDF; APO press release] on January 25 on five of nine counts of contempt of court for witness tampering.
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. With the recent conviction [JURIST report] of Charles Taylor, the SCSL has largely fulfilled its mission and will take steps to shut down. Steps have already been taken to facilitate this process. In November 2009, the SCSL handed over its detention facility [JURIST report] to the Sierra Leone Prison Service in a monumental step towards the court’s resolution. The month before, eight men judged guilty of war crimes by the court were transferred [JURIST report] to Rwanda to serve out their terms. Although the court is winding down, it is still active. In early October, the SCSL sentenced [JURIST report] four men to prison terms ranging from 18 months to 2 years on contempt charges stemming from allegations of witness tampering. The month before, the court found three members of Sierra Leone’s former Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) guilty of contempt [JURIST report].