Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Others to Raise $62 Million for Charles Taylor's Trial

United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, has listed Nigeria among six-member nations expected to raise about $62 million for the trial of former Liberian President, Charles Taylor.

The amount is to cover the expenses of the special court trying Taylor between now and 2009.

The UN committee set up by Ban is chaired by Canada and has Sierra Leone, Nigeria, The Netherlands, UK and the U.S.A. as its members.

In a letter of urgent appeal sent to all member-states, the UN chief said the committee became necessary to tackle the problem of funds threatening to stall the activities of the special court trying Charles Taylor, who is currently on trial for "crime against humanity."

He called on the UN members to provide "necessary funding" for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, which is handling the case, "to ensure the successful completion of its mandate".

The letter, addressed to each of the court's Management Committee member-state as well as to other UN members-states, obtained by NAN at the UN at the weekend, stated that the appeal was "urgent in order to resolve the financial crisis".

"As you are aware, the Special Court is entirely dependent on voluntary contributions and presently, the court has insufficient funds to allow it to continue its operations beyond October 2007," Ban said.

He listed the budgetary requirements for the court for the period of January 1 to December 31, 2007 as 36 million dollars for 2007, 33 million dollars for 2008 and 20 million dollars for 2009.

The secretary-general underscored the importance of the court, which he said was aimed at promoting the rule of law, human rights and international humanitarian law.

According to him: "It is for these reasons that I have decided to appeal once again to your governments to provide funding for the court as a matter of urgency."

The UN chief also noted that "it is now vital that member-states provide the necessary financial support so that the court can focus on completing its important work, which is crucial to peace and security in the region."

He further appealed to member-states to consider entering into enforcement of sentences in agreement with the court.

"I will be grateful for a response from your government by Octotber 15, 2007," Ban said.

Taylor is facing 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international humanitarian law, including mass murder, mutilations, rape, sexual slavery and the use of child soldiers.

The crimes were alleged to have been committed during the decade-long civil war that engulfed Sierra Leone, which borders Liberia.

NAN reports that the UN Security Council authorised the staging of the trial at The Hague, Netherlands, citing security and expediency.

The Special Court, established in January 2002 by an agreement between the Sierra Leonean government and the UN, is mandated to try "those who bear greatest responsibility" for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the country after November 30, 1996.

Under an agreement with the UK, Taylor will be imprisoned in that country, if he is convicted.

allAfrica.com: Nigeria: Country, Others to Raise $62 Million for Charles Taylor's Trial (Page 1 of 1)