George Gelaga King

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George Gelaga King (died 5 April 2016)[1][2][3] was a judge in Sierra Leone, West Africa, and recently a justice of the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Early career[edit]

King was President of the Sierra Leone Court of Appeal and of the Court of Appeal of The Gambia. He served as Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to France, Spain, Portugal and Switzerland from 1974 to 1978, and was at the same time Sierra Leone’s Permanent Representative to UNESCO. Between 1978 and 1980 he served as Sierra Leone’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations.[4]

King taught law at the Sierra Leone Law School from 1990 to 2005. He was Chairman of both the Sierra Leone Law Journal and the Gambian National Council for Law Reporting, and was a member of the Sierra Leone Council of Legal Education. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.[4]

Judge of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, 2002-16[edit]

King was a Judge of the Special Court for Sierra Leone from December 2002.[4] He was president of the court from 2006 to 2008, being elected to two one-year terms.[4][5] The Appeals Court Judges also selected Justice Emmanuel Ayoola of Nigeria as Vice-President at the same time that King was re-elected.[5] He succeeded Justice Renate Winter of Austria.[5]

In September 2013, King served as the presiding judge when the tribunal ruled that the Liberian ex-president Charles Taylor lost his appeal against a war-crimes conviction and instead confirmed his 50-year jail term for encouraging rebels in Sierra Leone to mutilate, rape and murder victims in its civil war.[6]

He subsequently served on the Roster of Judges of the Residual Special Court.


  1. ^ RSCSL: press statement announcing the death
  2. ^ Announcement of death: Sierra Loaded
  3. ^ Announcement of death: Makoni Times
  4. ^ a b c d "Panels". Harvard University. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c Jalloh, Ibrahim. "The Special Court for Sierra Leone: An Update". entre for Accountability and the Rule of Law. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  6. ^ Thomas Escritt (September 26, 2013), Liberia's Charles Taylor loses appeal against war crimes conviction Reuters.