Brima "Bazzy" Kamara
Johnny Paul Koroma
Alex Tamba Brima
Sam Hinga Norman
With this Ring: Following the International Diamond Trail
||(Real Audio, 12.5 min)
This week, the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone indicted Charles Taylor, the president of Liberia, for crimes allegedly committed during the civil war in neighboring Sierra Leone. It was only the second time a head of state has been indicted for international war crimes while in office. Prosecutors allege Taylor was a central figure in a global criminal network that controlled rebels in Sierra Leone who committed murder, enslavement, rape and forced children into combat.
The Special Court was established last year in a treaty between the United Nations and the Sierra Leone government. It is a new kind of war crimes tribunal that uses a mix of national and international law and is based in the country where the crimes occurred. Human rights groups say the new court is quicker and cheaper than the United Nations tribunals for former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and could be a model for justice in Iraq and other countries emerging from war and dictatorship. War crimes investigations are extremely secretive, but American RadioWorks journalists Deborah George and Michael Montgomery were allowed to follow the work of investigators and prosecutors in Sierra Leone.