Thursday, April 26, 2007

Liberia: Sierra Leone Court Officials Arrive Today


A high-level mission from the Special Court of Sierra Leone is expected to arrive in the country today.

The mission will be led by Acting Registrar, Herman von Hebel, and will include Prosecutor Stephen Rapp, Principal Defender Vincent O. Nmehielle, and other Special Court officials.

The mission, which is being arranged with the assistance of UNMIL pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1750 (2007), will include high-level meetings with Liberian and UN officials, a town hall meeting, visits to W.V.S. Tubman High School and the University of Liberia, and a meeting with members of Liberian Civil Society.

It is not clear what will be the subject of discussion of the meetings or what the mission hopes to achieve by those meetings, but a Special Court release said the acting registrar, the prosecutor, and the principal defender will provide updates on the work of the court and the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor at The Hague.

They will also answer questions and make clarifications of easily avoidable misunderstandings. The mission is in line with the Security Council's call in resolution 1688 for the Special Court "to make the trial proceedings accessible to the people of the sub region".

It is the first visit by Special Court officials to Liberia since 2004, and the first since Mr. Taylor was turned over to the custody of the Special Court.

A press conference by the acting registrar is scheduled for 25 April at 3:30 pm at the UNMIL Media Centre, according to the special court dispatch which said the prosecutor and the principal defender will be also present to respond to questions from journalists.

The Special Court is an independent tribunal established jointly by the United Nations and the Government of Sierra Leone. It is mandated to bring to justice those who bear the greatest responsibility for atrocities committed in Sierra Leone after 30 November 1996.

To date, the prosecutor has indicted eleven persons on various charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law.

Link to allAfrica.com: Liberia: Sierra Leone Court Officials Arrive Today (Page 1 of 1)