The Special Court for Sierra Leone, which is trying accused war
criminal Charles Taylor, says it is in danger of running out of funds
by next month. The president of the Court told the U.N. Security
Council Thursday that if additional money is not found immediately, the
court would experience shortfalls by the first week of August that
could disrupt its work.
The Special Court is the first
international tribunal to be fully funded by voluntary contributions.
More than 40 countries have contributed to its costs, with significant
support coming from the United States, Britain, Canada and Nigeria.
despite strong backing, the court has run into financial problems
before. In March, it said it was on the verge of running out of money,
and an appeal by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon helped bring in
some new contributions.
But the Special Court's President,
Renate Winter, told the Security Council that the Court, which has
nearly completed its work, could be in jeopardy of not finishing it.
shortfall poses the real possibility of disrupting our work, which
would have disastrous consequences for the [Security] Council's
extensive peace building efforts in Sierra Leone and Liberia," said
Winter. "A disruption in the proceedings would send the wrong message
to the international community, jeopardizing the fight against impunity
and potentially calling into question our collective commitment to
She said in total, the court would need some $30 million to complete its work.
Special Court was set up jointly by the Sierra Leone government and the
United Nations to try those responsible for atrocities committed during
the country's 11-year long civil war that ended in 2002.
the last six years, it has issued indictments against 13 persons.
Eleven were arrested and transferred to the Court in Freetown. Two died
in custody, one was killed in Liberia before he was arrested and the
whereabouts of another indictee [Johnny Paul Koroma] remains unknown.
Winter told the Security Council that she expects the court to wrap up
its work in early 2011, after the completion of the trial of
ex-Liberian President Charles Taylor, which, for security reasons, is
taking place at The Hague.
The defense phase of his trial
began this week. Taylor is charged with 11 counts of crimes against
humanity and using child soldiers in his role backing rebels in Sierra
Leone's civil war. He has denied the charges.
said the court also needs some funds once the trial phase is complete,
to provide for residual issues such paying for prison sentences for
those convicted and funding a trial for the one remaining suspect who
remains at large, Johnny Paul Koroma, the former head of Sierra-Leone's
Armed Forces Revolutionary Council.