24 April 2012

Supporting the Special Court for Sierra Leone in the run-up to the Taylor Judgement

On 26 April 2012, the Special Court will deliver judgement in the trial for former Liberian President Charles Ghankay Taylor. Mr. Taylor is charged on an 11-count indictment alleging responsibility for atrocities committed by rebel forces during Sierra Leone’s decade-long civil war.

On 26 April 2012, the Special Court will deliver judgement in the trial for former Liberian President Charles Ghankay Taylor. Mr. Taylor is charged on an 11-count indictment alleging responsibility for atrocities committed by rebel forces during Sierra Leone’s decade-long civil war.

With this judgement, the Special Court for Sierra Leone reaches a critical milestone, and an important milestone for international justice. This is the last major trial to be held by the Special Court, and Mr. Taylor is the first former head of state to face judgement before any international tribunal.

The Court, established in 2002 by an agreement between the United Nations and the Government of Sierra Leone, previously completed three trials in Freetown, finding eight former leaders of the Revolutionary United Front, the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, and the Civil Defence Forces guilty for serious breaches of international humanitarian law.

The Court has set a number of precedents in international jurisprudence, including first-ever convictions for the conscription, enlistment and use of child soldiers, for attacks directed at UN peacekeepers, and for forced marriage as a crime against humanity.

Hill+Knowlton Strategies (H+K) Brussels has been supporting the Special Court in the run-up to the Charles Taylor trial with Public Affairs advice on a pro-bono basis. Given that the SCSL is based on voluntary financial contributions, H+K in Brussels assists the Court in raising awareness of the case and the challenges that the Court is facing among key policy makers from the European Union and its 27 Member States. These activities have contributed to the SCSL’s continuous efforts in securing pledges that are necessary to complete its mandate and to transition to its residual mechanism.

By Fabienne Eckert & Robrecht Vandormael