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The Sentencing Legacy of the Special Court for Sierra Leone

The Sierra Leone Special Court and Its Legacy 373 (Charles Chernor Jalloh ed., 2014)

Posted: 8 Nov 2013 Last revised: 21 May 2014

Margaret M. deGuzman

Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law

Date Written: October 21, 2013

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

deGuzman, Margaret M., The Sentencing Legacy of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (October 21, 2013). The Sierra Leone Special Court and Its Legacy 373 (Charles Chernor Jalloh ed., 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2343310

Margaret M. DeGuzman (Contact Author)

Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law ( email )

1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

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