Africa Today Seminar: The Legacy of the Special Court for Sierra Leone

Seminar date: 
21 April 2011
15.30 - 17.00u
Pieter de la Courtgebouw / Faculty of Social Sciences, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden
Seminar room: 
Room 1.A41

The Special Court for Sierra Leone was set up in January 2002 in a treaty between the Government of Sierra Leone and the United Nations. It was one of the first examples of a ‘hybrid tribunal’ with personnel from both the national government and the international community working together. The treaty and its statutes gave the court the jurisdiction to try those considered ‘most responsible’ for the atrocities that were committed in Sierra Leone between 30 November 1996 and the official declaration of the end of the war on 18 January 2002. Since its inception, the court has indicted 13 persons, of whom three died before being brought to trial, and one during his trial. All the remaining accused were tried on four cases, three of which have been completed through appeal and the last, the Prosecution vs. Charles Taylor, is now awaiting judgment by the Trial Chamber. The verdict, which is expected in about September, will be the first ever verdict of a trial of a former head of state by an international tribunal. 

Additional speaker information: 

Nicholas Koumjian is currently Principle Trial Attorney with the Office of the Prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone. He joined the Special Court in May 2007 to work on the Charles Taylor case. Mr. Koumjian previously worked as a prosecuting attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (2000-2003), the War Crimes Chamber of the State Court for Bosnia and Herzegovina (2005-2006) and served as Deputy General Prosecutor for the Serious Crimes Unit in East Timor (2003-2005). Prior to joining the Special Court, Mr. Koumjian was serving as Director of a USAID-funded human rights program in Colombia. For almost twenty years (1991-2000), Mr. Koumjian was a Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles.