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, 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
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.