UN appoints Bots judge to Sierra Leone Court

Gaborone – The United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, has appointed Botswana’s High Court Judge Key Dingake to the Residual Special Court of Sierra Leone.

The Residual Special Court of Sierra Leone continues the mandate of the Special Court of Sierra Leone (SCSL). The UN and the government of Sierra Leone set up the SCSL to preside over the prosecution of persons who bore the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in Sierra Leone after November 30, 1996, and during the civil war.

Commenting on the appointment, Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo stated that the assignment of Justice Dingake was an affirmation of the confidence the international community had in Botswana’s judicial system and government.

“Justice Dingake is a jurist and scholar of international repute. His career path straddles academia, corporate world and the judiciary,” said Dibotelo.

He said the administration of justice had the confidence that Justice Dingake would execute his assignment with fairness and integrity and make Botswana proud.

“The appointment is not a full-time assignment and that Justice Dingake will sit from time to time as may be required by the President of the Court,” said Dibotelo.

Dibotelo concluded that “…on behalf of the entire judiciary and people of Botswana, I wish Hon. Justice Dr Dingake all the best in his new international assignment”.

According to the Journal of International Criminal Justice (ICJ), the United Nations and the government of Sierra Leone agreed to establish the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone (RSCL) to carry out the judicial and administrative responsibilities of the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) concluded its work in September this year after trying and convicting war criminals, including the former Liberian President, Charles Taylor.

Taylor was sentenced to 50 years imprisonment in May last year and the SCSL dismissed his appeal and confirmed the sentence on September 26 this year. He was charged for war crimes he is said to have sponsored in Sierra Leone.

“When it was created in 2002 the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) represented a new approach to the prosecution of international crimes.

“With the final appeal scheduled for delivery in September 2013, the SCSL is set to break new ground in the field of international criminal justice by being the first international tribunal to complete all of its judicial proceedings and transition to a residual Court,” the International Criminal Justice suggested.

The ICJ strongly believes that the entire process from initially identifying its residual functions and designing a flexible residual Court to managing them to the SCSL’s preparations for transition to the RSCSL, offers valuable lessons for other international tribunals that will close and transfer responsibilities to successor institutions in the future.

November 2013
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