UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Tuesday congratulated the staff of the United Nations- backed Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), which closes Tuesday, on their important achievements over the past 11 years in ensuring accountability for crimes committed during the country's decade- long civil war.
The SCSL, an independent tribunal set up jointly by the government of Sierra Leone and the UN, is mandated to try those who bear the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international law and Sierra Leonean law committed in the country since 1996.
Based in the capital city of Freetown, the Special Court carried out numerous trials since its establishment in 2002, including those of various leaders in the country as well as of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.
"On the occasion of today's closing of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the secretary-general wishes to congratulate the judges, principals and staff, both Sierra Leonean and international, on the important achievements that have been accomplished over course of the eleven years of its existence," said a statement issued here by Ban's spokesperson.
"The United Nations is proud of its partnership with the government of Sierra Leone in establishing the Special Court, which ensured accountability for the unspeakable crimes committed during Sierra Leone's over a decade-long civil war," said the statement.
The UN chief said the SCSL greatly contributed towards establishing peace and stability and in laying the ground for Sierra Leone's long-term development."
"Of the impressive legacy and the many lessons that the work of the Special Court leaves behind as we move forward in truly establishing an age of accountability, one lesson stands out above all: justice is an indispensable element for peace to be sustainable in post-conflict societies," Ban added.
According to the statement, the SCSL will be succeeded on Jan. 1, 2014 by the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone, which will deal with matters arising from the ongoing legal obligations of the tribunal, including the review of applications by convicts for early release or the judicial review of their convictions.