The conditional early release of offenders transferred from the Special Court for Sierra Leone to serve their sentences in designated states: some observations and recommendations

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • SDG 5
  • Abstract:

    The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) (now the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone) convicted various offenders of crimes, such as war crimes and crimes against humanity. These convicted offenders were sentenced to prison terms ranging from two to fifty years' imprisonment. The SCSL signed sentence-enforcement agreements with Sweden, Finland, Rwanda and the United Kingdom. On the basis of these enforcement agreements, those convicted by the SCSL were transferred to serve their sentences in Rwanda and the United Kingdom. Some of those convicted of contempt of court served their sentences in Sierra Leone. The enforcement of the sentences is governed by Articles 227 and 238 of the Statute of the SCSL, read with Rules 103 and 124 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence which provide for the place of imprisonment of the offenders convicted by the SCSL and the issue of pardon respectively. The conditional early release (what is known as parole in some countries) of the offenders is governed by the Practice Direction on the Conditional Early Release of Persons Convicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone. As at the end of 2014, only two offenders - Moinina Fofana and Eric Koi Senessie - had been granted conditional release by the President of the SCSL. The purpose of this article is to analyse the issues emerging from these two cases. Before I deal with those issues, it is important to draw a distinction between the transfer of offenders between countries and the transfer of offenders from international criminal tribunals, such as the SCSL, to sentence enforcement states.