A Synergistic Relationship: The Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Special Court for Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission was a product of the Lomé Peace Agreement of 7 July 1999, a negotiated truce between the Government of Sierra Leone and the rebel Revolutionary United Front. A truth commission had been on the agenda for several years at that point, and had also been proposed in an earlier and subsequently aborted peace settlement to the war that was reached in Abidjan in November 1996. As originally conceived, there was never any thought of defining how the Sierra Leone Truth Commission would relate to criminal prosecutions. The model driving all discussion at the time, that of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, had placed the institution within a dynamic based on a parallel regime of criminal justice, in that witnesses were encouraged to testify in exchange for amnesty or immunity from prosecution. But the Sierra Leone peace settlement promised a full amnesty to combatants on all sides. The Truth Commission was presented as an alternative to prosecutions, not a complement to them.
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