APPENDICES TO THE MINUTES OF EVIDENCE
Letter to the Committee from Mr David
Crane, Prosecutor, Special Court for Sierra Leone
Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts
regarding the progress of the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
While I regret that I am unable to appear before you this morning,
I am confident that my Deputy Prosecutor, Desmond de Silva, QC,
will provide you with the information you require. Mr de Silva
has been an invaluable member of our team. You should all be proud
of his contribution to the people of Sierra Leone. He represents
the best the United Kingdom has to offer.
The assistance your government is providing
to Sierra Leone is having a tremendous positive impact in the
country and region. For over a decade, the people of Sierra Leone
have suffered from unspeakable crimes of a magnitude beyond comprehension.
Women and children bore a disproportionate brunt of the conflict.
Thousands of women and girls were subjected to widespread and
systematic sexual violence and a whole generation of children
were abducted and forcibly conscripted by armed groups. Without
the leadership of your government, the war would still be raging
However, much work remains to be done. I am
of the firm belief that the people of Sierra Leone will never
truly enjoy a just and sustainable peace until the architects
of the brutal conflict are brought to book. The cycle of impunity
that has reigned for decades must be broken and the Special Court
for Sierra Leone represents our best chance to do just that. From
the start, my prosecutorial strategy has included gender crimes
and crimes against children. I intend to send a clear message
that these crimes will not be tolerated in Sierra Leone or anywhere
else in the world.
During the past seven months, my team of investigators
and prosecutors have been working diligently to build cases against
those "who bear the greatest responsibility" for the
atrocities committed during the war. Our offices are fully operational.
We have conducted dozens of missions inside and outside of Sierra
Leone, and collected hundreds of witness statements. The ongoing
investigation is regional and international in scope, with external
actors and resources at the heart of the conflict. Our investigations
continue to move forward expeditiously and have resulted in seven
indictments so far.
Furthermore, we are committed to ensuring that
a legacy of the rule of law is left behind long after our mission
is completed. My office employs several Sierra Leonean lawyers
and investigators, and we are working to support the local bar
association and civil society in their efforts to promote legal
reform and accountability. We are also establishing a vigorous
outreach programme that will educate, inform, and engage Sierra
Leoneans about the Court's mandate and mission.
Finally, I must add that none of this would
have been possible without the hard work and support of the Court's
Registrar, Robin Vincent, and the leadership of President, Geoffrey
Robertson, QC. Together, with your continued support, we will
deliver justice for the countless victims that suffered or perished
in this war.
Mr David M. Crane
The Prosecutor, Special Court for Sierra Leone
9 March 2003