Sierra Leone. After UNAMSIL disarmed the RUF (Revolutionary United Front) rebel movement and government-loyal militias, totaling about 47,000 men, the ten-year civil war was declared in January. According to Countryaah website, national day of Sierra Leone is every April 27. Sierra Leone signed an agreement with the UN to set up a special court in Freetown for war crimes committed since the end of 1996, when the RUF broke a peace agreement.
Judges were appointed by both the UN and the government, with the UN-appointed judges in the majority. The government also decided to appoint a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, whose mission was to investigate the many abuses of the war, analyze the violence and contribute to healing the deep social trauma. In addition to killing nearly 200,000 people during the war, tens of thousands of women were subjected to sexual abuse. Thousands of children were robbed and forced to become soldiers. Thousands of people were mutilated.
RUF leader Foday Sankoh was brought to trial in March. The case was repeatedly updated and expected to be transferred to the UN Court in 2003. He was charged with having his bodyguards shot to death about twenty people who demonstrated outside his home in May 2000.
Already during the first months after the end of the war, the atmosphere changed significantly in Sierra Leone. As people began to trust peace and gained new faith in the future, the relocation to shattered villages quickly increased. Fields that lay in the trough were put back into use. Approaches to reconciliation appeared in many places.
In May, general elections were conducted under peaceful and orderly forms. President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah got just over 70% of the vote in the presidential election and his Sierra Leone People’s Party got a superior majority in parliament. RUF participated as the RUFP party but was only supported by about 2%.
The successful peace process released large sums of aid. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank wrote off $ 950 million of Sierra Leone’s foreign debt, also intended as a counterpart to the government’s efforts to improve government finances. Growth was estimated at 6–7% for 2002 and inflation was kept at a manageable 5%.
The UN extended its mandate for UNAMSIL in September but decided to gradually reduce its strength.