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The end of impunity? Lessons from Sierra Leone

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This article analyses the significance of the highly anticipated trial of Charles Taylor at The Hague which, after a false start in 2007, resumed in early January 2008. Starting with the historical background, the article assesses the major juris-prudential issues which are likely to be considered during the course of the trial and to fit the case within the broader context of other developments both within the Special Court of Sierra Leone and other international tribunals. The funding problems that have beset the court and issues such as the handling of witnesses are also considered. The final outcome of the trial is as yet uncertain but it may suggest ways forward in terms of bringing greater accountability into the field of international criminal law. Ultimately, both retributive and restorative justice must play their part in ending the impunity of war criminals, whatever their status in society.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Academic historian and a barrister who has taught at various leading universities both in the UK and the US.

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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