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Austrian Jurist Elected Tribunal Head In S. Leone

Austrian jurist elected new head of UN-backed tribunal in Sierra Leone

29 May 2008 - An experienced Austrian judge has been chosen as the new President of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), the United Nations-backed war crimes tribunal set up to deal with the worst abuses during the long civil war in the West African country.

Justice Renate Winter was elected to a one-year term as the Presiding Judge of the appeals chamber, a post which automatically makes her the Court's President as well, the SCSL said today in a press statement from the capital, Freetown.

Effective tomorrow, Justice Winter - who joined the SCSL in 2002 - succeeds Justice George Gelaga-King of Sierra Leone, who has served as President since 2006. She has also previously served as an international judge of the Supreme Court of Kosovo, as part of the UN interim civilian administration there.

The new President, who currently heads the International Association of Youth and Family Court Judges, has an extensive background in family law, juvenile justice systems, women's justice issues, child labour and the role of the media in advocacy.

She has also worked for the UN on projects relating to youth and child soldiers, as well as issues of restorative justice and organized crime.

ENDS

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