Source: (2006) In Naomi Roht-Arriaza and Javier Mariezcurrena, Ed., Transitional Justice in the Twenty-First Century, Beyond Truth versus Justice. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press. Pg. 43-69.

"Receptive to Sierra Leone's cry for help, the United Nations concluded an agreement with the Government of Sierra Leone establishing the Special Court for Sierra Leone (Special Court), mandated to try persons bearing the greatest responsibility for international crimes and certain domestic crimes commited within the country since November 30, 1996.... The Special Court became operational in August 2002. Its two first trials commenced in mid-2004, and a third trial started at the beginning of 2005. Although its mandate will result in only a few individuals being charged, the Court was created to "contribute to the process of national reconciliation and to the restoration and maintenance of peace." At first glance, it seems the Court is well positioned to promote these national transitional justice goals: by bringing perpetrators to justice it could deter further violence and allow the population to break from a violent past and build a future based on respect for human rights and equality before the law. Its process, moreover, could promote a sustainable peace by helping restore the rule of law and eradicate the culture of impunity in Sierra Leone. Nonetheless the Court's ability to promote such goals could be curtailed by an array of elements including its own limited funding and jurisdiction, the volatile state of security in the country, and varying levels of local opposition. To help restore the rule of law, the Court must be seen as a role model for the administration of justice, and to promote deterrence it must be deemed credible. In light of these unique realities, this chapter examines the potential success of the Special Court as a cornerstone of transitional justice in Sierra Leone." (excerpt)