Sierra Leonean judge elected head of UN-backed war crimes tribunal

The Special Court for Sierra Leone

2 November 2009 – A Sierra Leonean judge has taken over as the new President of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), the United Nations-backed war crimes tribunal set up to deal with the worst acts committed during the long and brutal civil war in the West African nation.

Justice Jon Kamanda was elected to a one-year term as the Presiding Judge of the appeals chamber, a post which automatically makes him the SCSL’s President as well, according to a press release issued today by the court from Freetown, the capital.

Justice Emmanuel Ayoola of Nigeria was elected as Vice-President, the press release added.

Justice Kamanda succeeds Justice Renate Winter of Austria, who had served as President since May last year.

The new President has had an extensive legal career, having worked as a barrister, prosecutor and judge during the past 34 years. He has also served as a government minister in Sierra Leone.

The SCSL also announced today that Claire Carlton-Hanciles, a Sierra Leonean lawyer, has been named as the court’s Principal Defender.

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