Sierra Leone: veteran war crimes lawyer tapped as top prosecutor UN-backed court
22 February - A United States attorney, who leads the prosecution against former Liberian president Charles Taylor, has been named by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as the new Prosecutor of the United Nations-backed tribunal trying the worst acts committed during the decade-long brutal civil war in Sierra Leone.
Since 2007, Brenda Joyce Hollis has served as a principal trial attorney in the Office of the Prosecutor in the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), where she heads up the legal team prosecuting Mr. Taylor, who is under indictment for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Prior to that, she was an expert legal consultant on international law and criminal procedure, training judges, prosecutors and investigators at courts and international tribunals in Indonesia, Iraq and Cambodia.
Ms. Hollis has helped victims of international crimes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Colombia prepare submissions requesting investigations by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
She was also senior trial attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) from 1994-2001, serving as lead counsel in preparing the case against former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic as well as cases in which rape was charged as torture.
The newly-appointed prosecutor paid tribute to Deputy Prosecutor Joseph Kamara, who has served as Acting Prosecutor since Stephen Rapp left the post last September.
Also today, Mr. Ban named Binta Mansaray, a Sierra Leonean national, as the Special Court's Registrar.
Appointed as Deputy Registrar in 2007, she has served as Acting Registrar since last June.
Ms. Mansaray first joined the SCSL as an Outreach Coordinator, where she designed its acclaimed grassroots programme to inform the people of Sierra Leone and Liberia about the Special Court and its trials.
Prior to joining the SCSL, she worked as a human rights advocate for victims and ex-combatants.
The Special Court is an independent tribunal established jointly by Sierra Leone's Government and the UN in 2002. It is mandated to try those who bear the greatest responsibility for atrocities committed in Sierra Leone after 30 November 1996.
Last September, the eight prisoners convicted and held by the SCSL were transferred to Rwanda to serve their sentences since no prison in Sierra Leone meets the required international standards. The remaining trial, involving Mr. Taylor, is continuing at The Hague, where it was moved for security reasons.