- Jon Kamanda, a Sierra Leonean judge, has taken over as the new President of the UN-backed war crimes court that also presides over the case against Liberian ex-Dictator Charles Taylor. Mr Kamenda is the first local to lead the special court.
For the first time, a Sierra Leonean is to be in charge of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), the United Nations-backed tribunal looking into war crimes during the brutal Sierra Leonean civil war. The war was supposedly co-financed and fuelled by Liberia under Mr Taylor's rule.
Justice Jon Kamanda was elected to a one-year term as the Presiding Judge of the appeals chamber, a post which automatically makes him the SCSL's President as well, according to a press release issued today by the court from Freetown, the capital.
Justice Emmanuel Ayoola of Nigeria was elected as Vice-President, the press release added.
Mr Kamanda succeeds Justice Renate Winter of Austria, who had served as President since May last year.
The new Court President has had an extensive legal career, having worked as a barrister, prosecutor and judge during the past 34 years. He has also served as a government minister in Sierra Leone.
The SCSL also announced today that Claire Carlton-Hanciles, a Sierra Leonean lawyer, has been named as the court's Principal Defender.
The Special Court is also running the case against Mr Taylor, who is charged with aiding and training Sierra Leone's former RUF rebels, a group held responsible for the most brutal war crimes. Due to security and insistence from the current Liberian government, the case against Mr Taylor however is physically held in The Hague, Netherlands.
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afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.