The effectiveness and effieciency of the special court for Sierra Leone in dealing with sexual war crimes : IHL AND IHRL perspectives
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This dissertation assesses the effectiveness and efficiency of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), in implementing International Human Rights Law (IHRL) and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) principles in sexual war crimes. The dissertation draws from disparate literature on the SCSL and on IHRL and IHL. As such it is mainly exploratory and qualitative in nature. The research also draws much from the theories on special tribunals, conduct of civil wars and theories on the rights of individuals. ‘Efficacy’ of the SCSL includes mainly the backlog clearance rate of the SCSL, whilst ‘effectiveness’ explores the reasons for the establishment of the SCSL. The ultimate aim of this research work is to explore the role of the SCSL in punishing offenders who bear the greatest responsibility in sexual war crimes perpetrated in the Sierra Leonean conflict. The study situates IHRL and IHL principles in sexual war crimes since gender-based crimes are often overlooked by most researchers. The research is exploratory in nature and relies mainly on secondary data on IHL and IHRL as well as the SCSL. This study focuses on the SCSL, which is a hybrid criminal court established in 2002 by the United Nations (UN) and the Government of Sierra Leone. As such, this study also gives brief backgrounds of the SCSL and the conflict in Sierra Leone. This study shows that serious IHL and IHRL violations have forced the international community to establish special courts the world over to deal with individual criminal liability. Tribunals that have been set up include: the Nuremburg or International Military Tribunal, Tokyo Tribunal, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The research also shows that IHL and IHRL are important areas of law that the international community is increasingly using in protecting victims of sexual crimes in peaceful and turbulent times by punishing offenders who bear the greatest criminal responsibility. It also demonstrates the role of the international community, governments, rights movements and victims in combating sexual crimes and dealing diligently with the culture of impunity in sexual crimes. It is against this background that this research shows that the SCSL has been effective though not very efficient in dealing with sexual war crimes. In spite of the challenges it faces, this research shows that the SCSL is implementing IHL and IHRL principles in punishing perpetrators of sexual war crimes committed during the strife in Sierra Leone. The research also shows that the international community has not taken a quasi-indifferent approach to issues of IHL and IHRL that arose during the civil war in Sierra Leone. This is because the United Nations and the government of Sierra Leone formed the SCSL together. The international community has thus set precedents on command, direct and indirect responsibility in internal conflicts, particularly in relation to crimes of a sexual nature. The jurisprudence on sexual crimes is now available. Future hybrid tribunals can now be established with clear time lines and basing on the SCSL model. The international community can also move towards restorative justice considering the fact that criticism of the SCSL includes its focus on retributive justice. Retributive justice is an important consideration in combating impunity in international crimes but it should be accompanied by restorative justice particularly in crimes of a sexual nature where victims are traumatized through being infected with sexually transmitted diseases, forced pregnancies, and forced illicit affairs or incest.
Subjectsexual war crimes
International Criminal Tribunal