On the programme this month, we discuss the psychosocial impact the civil war in Sierra Leone has had with human rights activist, Binta Mansaray.
Binta, a Sierra Leonean, talks about the double victimisation of child soldiers, who are now adults, many homeless, and involved in criminality. She also talks about the legacy the conflict has had – a conflict which had been fuelled and funded by the country’s natural resources, diamonds. We hear about the absence within schools’ teachings of the history of the war. And Binta describes many adults in the country now, “not wanting to hear anything about the war because of what they have gone through.”
What has become of the perpetrators of the violence and its survivors? We discuss this, within the narrow mandate that the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) had in holding those who bore “the greatest responsibility” and within a specific timeframe.
Binta is Registrar of the SCSL, now in residual status. Prior to that, she worked as its Outreach Coordinator, having direct contact with the people and communities in the country. Much of her work surrounded liaising with women and children, and still, to this day, she is involved in the processes surrounding transitional justice.
The SCSL was the first to rule on the use of child soldiers in conflict. Previous podcast guests, Shireen Fisher and Teresa Doherty have also contributed significantly to the court. Indeed, while a member of the court, it was Justice Doherty’s opinion that led to the recognition in international law of forced marriage as a crime against humanity.
This episode does contain some graphic details of killings and atrocities committed during the war, which have been described as “the worst we have seen anywhere in the world”.
Presented and produced by journalist Evelyn McClafferty, who specialises in justice and climate issues.
With thanks to our donors: Irish Aid.
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this episode do not necessarily represent those of IRLI or Irish Aid.