U.S. Urges Establishment of Tribunal To Prosecute Sierra Leone Rebel Leaders
The United States is pushing for the creation of a war tribunal that would prosecute rebel leaders in Sierra Leone for their war crimes, including rape and mutilation of women and girls. The U.S. is in particular seeking to prosecute rebels of the evolutionary United Front, who held 500 U.N. peacekeepers hostage for several weeks in May. Foday Sankoh, leader of the Revolutionary United Front rebel group, is currently in government custody and will most likely be one of the first people prosecuted. Although the call for the tribunal's creation represents a positive step, establishing an International Criminal Court (ICC) that prosecutes war criminals across the globe is more likely to secure gender equality and justice in the long-term. The ICC would serve as a breakthrough for the ongoing protection of women's rights by providing a mechanism for bringing to justice perpetrators of inhumane crimes against women and girls. In July 1998, 120 countries, excluding the United States, voted to establish the ICC.
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