UNITED NATIONS — The United States circulated a Security Council resolution Thursday to set up a special mixed Sierra Leone-international court to prosecute rebels accused of the worst atrocities in the war-ravaged West African nation.
U.S. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke said the draft was "endorsed in its general framework by all the other" council members during closed-door consultations. He said he hoped that it would be voted on next week.
"It is very important that Foday Sankoh and his henchmen who have committed these war crimes be brought to justice," Holbrooke told reporters, referring to the leader of the rebel Revolutionary United Front who was arrested by the Sierra Leone government in May.
The civil war in Sierra Leone, which flared anew this year despite a peace accord signed in Lome, Togo, in July 1999, has been marked by unusual brutality, with rebels killing or mutilating thousands of civilians, often hacking off limbs.
The proposed mixed court would be different from existing purely U.N. tribunals set up to prosecute alleged war criminals from the former Yugoslav federation and those accused of responsibility for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
A similar mixed court, with international involvement, is under consideration for Cambodia.