Two Sierra Leonean judges, Justice Alusine Sanie Sesay and Justice Tonia Barnett, were sworn in today before RSCSL President, Justice Jon Kamanda as members of the roster of 16 Judges of the Residual Special Court. In a ceremony held at the Sierra Leone Peace Museum in Freetown, each subscribed to the Solemn Declaration, laid out under Rule 14(A), to serve “honestly, faithfully, impartially and conscientiously” as a Judge of the RSCSL,
The ceremony was witnessed by Attorney General and Minister of Justice,
Antony Brewah, representing the Government of Sierra Leone, and RSCSL Registrar, Binta Mansaray, representing the United Nations,
The RSCSL was established by an agreement between the United Nations (UN) and the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) to carry on the continuing legal obligations of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Under the RSCSL Statute, ten of the judges are appointed by the Secretary- General of the United Nations, and six by the Government of Sierra Leone. RSCSL justices serve without remuneration unless they are called upon to perform judicial duties. They are paid on a pro rata basis.
The two new justices succeed the late Justice John Bankole Thompson, who passed away in May 2021, and Justice Miatta Maria Samba, who was elected in 2020 as a Judge of the International Criminal Court.
Justice Alusine Sesay has been a judge in the Sierra Leone judiciary since 2007, when he was appointed Resident Judge in the Northern Province. He was appointed High Court Judge in 2009 and Judge of the Court of Appeal in 2015. Justice Sesay has served as a Justice of the Supreme Court since 2019. From 2004 to 2006 he served as co-counsel and case manager in the SCSL trial of The Prosecutor v. Sam Hinga Norman, et. al. From 2004 to 2006 he was employed as Consultant State Counsel attached to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Prior to 2007 he was a legal practitioner in private practice.
Justice Sesay is a graduate of Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, and was enrolled as a
Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court in 1992.
Justice Tonia Barnett has served in the Sierra Leone judiciary since 2006. From 2006 to 2008, she was a Circuit Magistrate of the Kenema Judicial District and its environs. From 2011 to 2017, she served as Senior Magistrate in the Judiciary of Sierra Leone. She has been a Judge since 2017. From 2017 to 2020 she was a Justice of the High Court of Sierra Leone. Since December 2020 she has been Acting Judge of the Court of Appeals.
Justice Barnett received a Bachelor of Laws from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone in 2004, and graduated from the Sierra Leone Law School in 2005. In 2016 she received a Master of Laws (LLM) degree in Women’s and Children’s Rights from Harvard Law School.