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The Evolution of International Criminal Law: Prosecuting 'New' Crimes before the Special Court for Sierra Leone

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The Special Court for Sierra Leone has been noted for becoming the first international court to convict accused of the crimes of sexual slavery, the use of child soldiers, 'forced marriage', and intentionally directing attacks against peacekeepers. This article analyzes how prosecutions of some of these supposedly 'new' crimes were found not to be in violation of the principle of legality, nullum crimen sine lege. In particular, this article will focus on the crimes of 'forced marriage', intentionally directing attacks against peacekeepers, and sexual slavery: the judgments in the RUF case (Prosecutor v. Sesay, Kallon and Gbao) and the AFRC case (Prosecutor v. Brima, Kamara and Kanu) together reveal two different processes through which the law has proven able to evolve and adapt to accommodate so-called 'new' crimes without violating the principle of legality.

Affiliations: 1: University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK


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