The Sentencing Legacy of the Special Court for Sierra Leone
Margaret M. DeGuzman
Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law
October 21, 2013
The Sierra Leone Special Court and Its Legacy 373 (Charles Chernor Jalloh ed., 2014)
This book chapter examines the legacy that the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) leaves through its sentencing practice. The chapter begins by deconstructing the word 'legacy,' arguing that the SCSL leaves three types of sentencing legacies. First, the SCSL developed law relevant to sentencing. Although not binding on any other court, the SCSL’s statements regarding the appropriate goals of sentencing, the factors relevant to sentencing, and the weight to be given to these considerations will inform other international and perhaps national courts sentencing perpetrators of international crimes. This is the Court’s 'legal legacy'. Second, the Court’s legal holdings can be assessed normatively. Did the SCSL identify the right goals of sentencing and apply them appropriately? This is the Court’s 'normative legacy.' Finally, an important aspect of the SCSL’s sentencing legacy – perhaps the most important – is the perceptions of relevant audiences about whether the Court’s sentencing practice was appropriate. This is the Court’s 'sociological legacy'. The chapter examines each of these aspects of the SCSL’s sentencing legacy and concludes that although it is too soon to reach definitive conclusions, the SCSL’s legal legacy will likely be important and lasting while its normative and sociological legacies remain ambiguous and contested.
Keywords: legacy, criminal law, international law, sentencing, transitional justice, punishment
JEL Classification: K14, K33
Date posted: November 8, 2013 ; Last revised: May 21, 2014
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