After gracing the Armed Forces Day celebrations, President Ernest Bai Koroma yesterday said there was a great need for the activities of the Special Court, which is a chapter of the war, to be quickly concluded so that the nation can move on.
Addressing members of the Management Committee of the Special Court who are on a visit to the country and who called on the Head of State at State House, President Koroma said, “We are happy about the progress made so far and it’s our desire that we bring to a conclusion the issues of the Special Court as soon as possible.”
He noted that although the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor would have to continue, those within Sierra Leonean jurisdiction would soon be ended, hence the need for the Court to fold up: “When that happens, we will put the legacy of the war behind us and move on as a nation” he said.
The President said he has been very much involved in discussing the residual issues consequential to the Court’s closure, and that government would soon come up with proposals to the effect. One thing he however took particular interest in was the issue of enforcing the prison sentences of convicted persons, proposing that it would be desirable to have some of them serve their terms in another country or countries “just as Charles Taylor has been accepted.”
He thanked the management committee and their respective countries for having seen Sierra Leone through her most difficult period.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the Committee, Keith Morrill of Canada, said they were cognizant of the fact that the Special Court was jointly formed by the UN and the Sierra Leone Government and would have to notify the President on any developments.
He said the Court is now rounding up its activities but there are residual issues like setting up the archives, enforcement of sentences, and the question of new evidences that should be dealt with. He intimated that the treaty that set up the Court would therefore need to be modified by legislation.