The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) is one of the three organs of the Special Court. It is headed by the Prosecutor, who is appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations after consultation with the Government of Sierra Leone. The Prosecutor is Brenda Hollis, who was appointed in 2010 by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
The Deputy Prosecutor is appointed by the Government of Sierra Leone, in consultation with the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The post of Deputy Prosecutor is currently vacant.
Other Sierra Leonean and international staff of the Office of the Prosecutor include lawyers, investigators and other specialized staff. The Office of the Prosecutor is divided into five sections: Prosecutions, Appeals, Investigations, SEAPA and Legal Operations.
The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of persons who bear the greatest responsibility for violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law since 30 November 1996. Violations of international humanitarian law include Crimes Against Humanity, violations of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law. The relevant crimes under Sierra Leonean law include offences relating to the abuse of girls under the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act of 1926 and offences relating to the wanton destruction of property under the Malicious Damage Act of 1861. The Special Court has no jurisdiction over any person who was under the age of 15 years at the time of alleged commission of the crime. The Special Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the national courts of Sierra Leone. In spite of concurrent jurisdiction, the Special Court has primacy over national courts, and at any point the Special Court may formally request that the national courts defer to its competence.
The Office of the Prosecutor acts independently as a separate organ of the Special Court, and does not seek or receive instructions from any Government or from any other source.
Before the Special Court, the Prosecutor is responsible for initiating and conducting the investigations. In conducting investigations, the Office of the Prosecutor has the power to question suspects, victims and witnesses, to collect evidence and to conduct on-site investigations. It also has the power to take all measures deemed necessary for the purpose of the investigation, including the taking of any special measures to provide for the safety, the support and the assistance of potential witnesses and sources. To that end, it may seek the assistance of any State authority concerned, as well as of any relevant international body, including the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL).
If satisfied in the course of an investigation that a suspect has committed a crime or crimes within the jurisdiction of the Special Court, the Office of the Prosecutor prepares an indictment, which is submitted for approval by a Judge. After an indictment has been approved and the accused person has been transferred to the custody of the Special Court, the Office of the Prosecutor is responsible for prosecuting the case before the Special Court.