chapter  10
Justice for whom? Assessing hybrid approaches to accountability in Sierra Leone
Pages 20

This chapter examines the relatively recent innovation of the mixed or hybrid tribunal as a tool to address past serious human rights abuses, and focuses specifically on Sierra Leone. Both domestic and international efforts at justice in postconflict situations have limitations. The hybrid tribunal is an attempt to combine the best features from each form of justice. The hope is that it will avoid some flaws and limitations of domestic transitional justice – that it will be limited or subverted by political hardliners, or that it will have a limited or counterproductive impact on local needs.1 The hope is, simultaneously, that the hybrid tribunal will avoid some of the flaws of international justice, or what I have termed as externalized justice. International justice can have little impact precisely because it occurs at a great distance from the affected society.2 This chapter will first examine some limits of internal and external justice, and then turn to the mixed tribunal as a policy response, generally, and the institution developed in Sierra Leone, specifically. Based on my examination of the mixed tribunal in East Timor, I will suggest that many of the flaws in the East Timor institution remain concerns for the one in Sierra Leone.3 I begin, first, with a discussion of what is at stake for countries that seek to respond to past abuses, and the impact of domestic or international proceedings.