Summary In order to counter the widespread culture of impunity after the 1991-2002 war, the international community invested heavily in setting up transitional justice mechanisms in Sierra Leone. The establishment of locally-supported, effective, and sustainable human rights institutions received less attention. Notwithstanding some successes, fundamental issues like national reconcilia- tion, a ... [Show full abstract] responsive and non-corrupt police, and local access to justice remain elusive. Redressing this requires a major shift in international assistance from transitional to more long-term, sustainable institution-building. If this shift does not take place, there is a real risk that the positive results achieved so far will evaporate in the next challenging phase of Sierra Leone's post-conflict development.