Source: (2008) Luc Huyse and Mark Salter, eds, Traditional Justice and Reconciliation after Violent Conflict: Learning from African Experiences. Stockholm: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. PP.123-146.

Sierra Leone’s civil conflict had been characterized by unspeakable brutality. International war crimes of the worst type were routinely and systematically committed against Sierra Leoneans of all ages and the suffering inflicted upon the civilian population was profound. While all sides committed human rights violations, the rebel forces were responsible for the overwhelming majority of them. It is also significant that Sierra Leoneans had suffered a great deal of structural violence prior to the start of the civil conflict in 1991. Given these stark realities, the end of the war posed new challenges, the most immediate being the question of whether to punish those who had brought mayhem on the people, or to forgive them. (excerpt)