The Lomé Peace Agreement brought some relief to Sierra Leone in July 1999 after a decade of violent conflict. Since 2001, ICTJ has advised the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Special Court for Sierra Leone and other justice initiatives.
Sierra Leone is still addressing the legacies of a 10-year civil conflict marked by intense violence against civilians, recruitment of child soldiers, corruption and bloody struggle for control of diamond mines. The war claimed tens of thousands of civilian lives; the number of persons raped, mutilated or tortured is much higher.
In July 1999, the Government of Sierra Leone and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebel group signed the Lomé Peace Agreement (LPA). They agreed to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) which began work in late 2002. The TRC submitted its final report in October 2004. However, the agreement granted an unconditional blanket amnesty for all parties, a decision which came under intense criticism.
In June 2000, Sierra Leone's President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah asked the UN to help establish a special court to prosecute those responsible for human rights violations during the conflict. The Special Court for Sierra Leone started operations in July 2002. As of early 2011, the court has indicted 13 people and convicted eight.
The LPA and TRC also established a reparations program. In 2007, the government designated the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) the official implementing agency. The program has faced many challenges in providing meaningful reparations for victims—largely due to lack of funding.
ICTJ works with the government and civil society in Sierra Leone to strengthen its transitional justice mechanisms. We help build skills and provide space for victims to share their experiences.