On the occasion of today’s closing of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the Secretary-General wishes to congratulate the judges, principals and staff, both Sierra Leonean and international, on the important achievements that have been accomplished over course of the eleven years of its existence. The United Nations is proud of its partnership with the Government of Sierra Leone in establishing the Special Court, which ensured accountability for the unspeakable crimes committed during Sierra Leone’s over a decade-long civil war, and thereby greatly contributed towards establishing peace and stability and in laying the ground for Sierra Leone’s long-term development. On 1 January 2014, the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone will take over the residual tasks of the Special Court.
Of the impressive legacy and the many lessons that the work of the Special Court leaves behind as we move forward in truly establishing an age of accountability, one lesson stands out above all: justice is an indispensable element for peace to be sustainable in post-conflict societies. The Secretary-General’s principled commitment to international criminal justice will remain steadfast and unwavering.