The Council held its final meeting on Sierra Leone on 26 March and adopted a presidential statement welcoming the conclusion of UNIPSIL and commending Sierra Leone for its achievements in consolidating peace 12 years after the conclusion of its civil war. The mission’s mandate formally concluded on 31 March. Executive Representative of the Secretary-General to Sierra Leone, Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen, briefed on the Secretary-General’s final report. Ambassador Guillermo Rishchynski (Canada), chair of the PBC Sierra Leone configuration, also addressed members about the new lighter plan for PBC engagement.
The Council had a briefing, followed by consultations, on 18 September on the most recent UNIPSIL report. Briefers were Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen, the Executive Representative and head of UNIPSIL, and Ambassador Guillermo Rishchynski (Canada), the chair of the Sierra Leone configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission. Foreign Minister Samura Kamara of Sierra Leone also addressed the Council, focusing on the government’s new poverty reduction strategy launched in July. On 27 September, the Council issued a press statement welcoming the judgement by the SCSL appeals chamber that upheld the fifty-year jail term of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.
On 13 March, the Council was briefed by Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen, Executive Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNIPSIL, on the Secretary-General’s report. Ambassador Guillermo Rishchynski (Canada), chair of the Sierra Leone configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), also briefed the Council following the recent PBC visit to the country. On 26 March, resolution 2097 was adopted renewing UNIPSIL’s mandate for twelve months, articulating a specific timeframe for the mission’s drawdown process, which should be completed by 31 March 2014. The resolution notes three key tasks for UNIPSIL to perform for the remainder of its mandate, in coordination with the UN country team and other partners: conflict prevention and mediation support for the upcoming constitutional support process (in which UNIPSIL is expected to play a role, with the UN country team taking over following UNIPSIL’s drawdown); security sector reform support; and support to the strengthening of human rights institutions. While Council members did not agree on a timeframe for the conclusion of the work of the Sierra Leone PBC configuration beyond the drawdown of UNIPSIL, it seems likely that it will continue through late 2014.
As requested in resolution 2065, the Secretary-General deployed an inter-agency technical assessment mission to Sierra Leone from 14-25 January. On 22-23 January Charles Taylor appealed his 50-year prison sentence before the Special Court for Sierra Leone. From 15-20 February, a PBC mission visited Sierra Leone.
On 28 November, Council members were briefed in consultations, via video link, from the head of UNIPSIL, Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen (Denmark), on Sierra Leone’s 17 November elections. The elections were largely free of violence and President Ernest Bai Koroma was re-elected. On 30 November, the Council adopted a presidential statement urging all political parties to accept the results.
On 9 October the Council was briefed by Justice Shireen Avis Fisher, the President of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and Brenda Hollis, the Chief Prosecutor of the Court, on the residual work of the Court. That briefing led to a presidential statement emphasising the need for further pledges of voluntary contributions in order to allow the Special Court to complete its mandate in a timely manner.
On 12 September, the Council adopted resolution 2065 extending UNIPSIL’s mandate until 31 March 2013 and authorising UNIPSIL to assist Sierra Leone through elections in November and to perform a number of post-election tasks, including “the preparation of a transition plan and exit strategy” following the elections. The adoption followed a briefing from Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen (Denmark), the head of UNIPSIL, on the Secretary-General’s latest report. Ambassador Guillermo Rishchynski (Canada), the chair of the PBC configuration for Sierra Leone, and Ambassador Shekou M. Touray (Sierra Leone) also addressed the Council.
On 22 June, Ambassador Guillermo Rishchynski (Canada), head of the PBC configuration for Sierra Leone, chaired an informal meeting of the PBC in New York to discuss preparations for the forthcoming elections.
On 23 May, Council members visited Sierra Leone as part of a three-country visit to West Africa. The Sierra Leone leg—led by Council members South Africa and the UK—was intended to encourage continued efforts to consolidate peace and national reconciliation. Reporting on the trip to the Council on 31 May, the South African ambassador said progress was being made for the elections on 17 November. However, the political environment in the country was dominated by intense rivalry and mistrust between the two major political parties—the ruling APC and the opposition SLPP. On the contentious issue of the purchase of weapons for paramilitary police, which was raised in the Council by UNIPSIL on 22 March, the South African ambassador reported that the president of Sierra Leone reassured Council members that those weapons were transferred to the armed forces of in the presence of international observers.
On 11 April, the Council released a presidential statement on Sierra Leone in which the Council welcomed a clarification made by the Sierra Leone government on a multi-million dollar purchase of arms and underlined the importance of free, fair and transparent elections on 17 November.
The Secretary-General’s Executive Representative for UNIPSIL, who was withdrawn from Sierra Leone on 6 February, briefed the Council on 22 March raising issue with the arms purchase. This was followed by consultations. Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister as well as the head of the PBC configuration for Sierra Leone also briefed the Council.
On 6 February, the Secretary-General withdrew his Executive Representative for UNIPSIL, Michael von der Schulenburg, following a request by the Sierra Leone government.
The chair of the PBC country-specific configuration on Sierra-Leone visited Sierra Leone from 21-31 January.
On 14 September, the Council adopted resolution 2005 renewing the mandate of UNIPSIL for a period of 12 months and charging it with providing technical assistance to all relevant stakeholders to play a meaningful role “in achieving peaceful, credible and democratic elections.” On 12 September, the Council was briefed on developments in Sierra Leone by Executive Representative for the Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the PBC country specific configuration for Sierra Leone. The Council was then briefed by the Foreign Minister of Sierra Leone.