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While we’re on courts…a trip back to Sierra Leone

March 5, 2009

Where earlier this week three members of the Revolutionary United Front were convicted of all kinds of Awful Stuff. The RUF is rebel group behind the most famous of the abuses in Sierra Leone’s war, the hacking off of people’s limbs.

Among that Awful Stuff were convictions for forced marriage, the first ever in the world. For a simple reason: Forced marriage as a distinct crime against humanity came directly out of the work of the country’s Special Court. These trials are, in fact, the first time the charge has been leveled in a courtroom.*

I did a story, among the first if not the very first one, about this new precedent last year, when I was in Freetown. You can read that story here.

*excepting the whole Special Court debate about whether it constitutes a crime and the ensuing decision to agree that it did, but not allow it to be added to the ongoing trial out of which it emerged…yada yada yada.

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