Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles

Mrs. Carlton-Hanciles is currently the Principal Defender, The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL). Appointed in 2009, she is the first Sierra Leonean to hold this position. She first joined the Special Court in 2003 as Legal Officer/Duty Counsel in the Office of the Principal Defender.

Mrs. Carlton-Hanciles has many years of leadership experience in Sierra Leonean civil society on issues related to human rights and transitional justice. She is a member of the Sierra Leone Bar Association and the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (Sierra Leone). She also serves as Legal Adviser to the Sierra Leone Women’s Forum and the Planned Parenthood Association of Sierra Leone and brings with her extensive experience in issues relating to sexual and gender-based violence. Mrs. Carlton-Hanciles holds a double bachelor’s degree from the University of Sierra Leone in Arts and Law, and in 1997, was called to the Bar as a Barrister and Solicitor. Mrs. Carlton-Hanciles is also currently a Fellow of the Sierra Leone Institute of International Law and the Executive Director of the National Legal Aid Program in Sierra Leone.