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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

ICC appoints Sierra Leone’s Hon. Justice Samba in top position

HomeNewsICC appoints Sierra Leone’s Hon. Justice Samba in top position

ICC appoints Sierra Leone’s Hon. Justice Samba in top position


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In a momentous development that bolsters the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) pursuit of justice, Justice Miatta Maria Samba, a distinguished jurist from Sierra Leone, has assumed the presidency of the Trial Division.

With an illustrious reputation as a legal scholar and unwavering advocate for justice, Justice Samba brings a wealth of experience to her new role. Born on October 3rd, 1971, she holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from Fourah Bay College, along with postgraduate qualifications in Human Rights and Energy Law from the esteemed Universities of Pretoria and Dundee, respectively.

Her legal journey began in 1999 when she joined the Sierra Leone Bar Association. Justice Samba rose to prominence through her pivotal role as a prosecutor at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, where she confronted the haunting legacy of war crimes in her nation’s history.

Beyond the courtroom, Justice Samba has made an indelible impact. She has served as an educator at Fourah Bay College and held leadership positions within the Anti-Corruption Commission of Sierra Leone.

Notably, in 2020, Justice Samba assumed the esteemed position of Judge at the ICC, presiding over significant cases involving individuals like Paul Gicheru from Kenya and Mahamat Said Abdel Kani from the Central African Republic.

Her recent appointment as President of the Trial Division marks a pivotal moment for Sierra Leone and the global fight against impunity.

Prior to joining the ICC, Judge Miatta Maria Samba has served as a senior judge in the judiciary of Sierra Leone, most recently as Justice of the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone (2021) and before that as Judge of the Court of Appeals (2019-) and Judge of the High Court (2015-2019), adjudicating complex criminal cases, particularly having to do with corruption, theft and sexual violence.

She has earlier led the prosecution of high-profile cases in the Anti-Corruption Commission of Sierra Leone, as well as represented, on a pro-bono basis, victims of sexual offences, particularly cases involving minors.

Judge Samba is Chair of the Legal Aid Board in Sierra Leone, which regulates the provision of legal representation for indigent persons. She lectured Criminal Law at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone.

Judge Samba has extensive experience from international criminal justice institutions. She has been a judge of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone since January 2020. She was previously (2006-2010) employed with the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor as a Field Operations Officer based in Uganda. Before that (2002-2006), she worked for the Prosecutor’s Office of the Special Court of Sierra Leone, where she was involved in the investigation, management and prosecution of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Judge Samba holds an LL.B (Hons) and BA from the University of Sierra Leone, a License to practice as Utter Barrister from the Sierra Leone Law School, and LL.M degrees from the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria and the Centre for Petroleum Law and Mining, University of Dundee. She is a member of the International Association of Female Judges, as well as the Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association.


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