The Public Archives
Many of the documents which comprise the public archives of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) and the Residual Court for Sierra Leone (RSCSL) are available on this website, and in the Court Records database linked to this site.
The originals of the Special Court archives are stored in The Hague, with a complete copy of the archives accessible at the Sierra Leone Peace Museum, located on the site of the former Special Court compound in Freetown. These include physical and digital copies of documents, digitised video tapes of the trials, outreach activities and other events, audio tapes, and related records.
To access public records not available online, contact the Archivist in the RSCSL office in The Hague, or contact the Sierra Leone Peace Museum in Freetown.
The Non-Public Archives
Many of the records generated by the Special Court continue to be classified as “confidential” or “strictly confidential”. These include judicial records, records relating to protected witnesses, certain records and information of the Office of the Prosecutor, personal records and other information relating to persons detained or convicted by the SCSL or RSCSL, records provided to the SCSL or RSCSL by third parties on a confidential basis, or to the Prosecutor on a confidential basis, and internal documents prepared by a Party. The RSCSL is tasked with maintaining, as necessary, the confidentiality of the archives.
The RSCSL is vested with classification authority to determine the security level of all its records, as follows.
- The authority to determine the security classification levels of judicial records lies with the President of the RSCSL, or a duty Judge, or with a Chamber if one is constituted.
- The authority to determine the security level of non-judicial records and information lies with the SCSL Chambers, Prosecutor, Registrar, Principal Defender and/or Lead Counsel which initially created or received them or, where applicable, their successor (the RSCSL Chambers, Prosecutor, Registrar, Defence representative/Duty Counsel).
Nothing in the archives policy prevents a request to the President, a duty Judge, or Chambers to reconsider the security classification level previously determined. The RSCSL may grant access to records and information classified as “confidential” or “strictly confidential” only after judicial authorisation has been obtained.
Certain types of non-judicial records will be reviewed for possible declassification 50 years after the date of creation or acquisition, and those not declassified at that time may be reviewed every ten years thereafter for possible declassification. Non-judicial records and information which do not fall under this category may be reviewed for possible declassification twenty years after the disposition of the relevant case. Records and information not declassified at that time may be further reviewed every five years thereafter for possible declassification.