December 2005 Monthly Forecast

Posted 23 November 2005
Download Complete Forecast: PDF

Sierra Leone

Expected Council Action
The Council is expected to welcome the Secretary-General’s report marking the end of mandate of the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) and the commencement of the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) as of 1 January 2006. However, action to terminate the remaining elements of the sanctions regime seems unlikely at this stage.

Key Facts
The 11-year conflict in Sierra Leone ended in 2002, when Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was elected president. In its final years, the conflict centered on an insurgency against Kabbah and pro-government militias by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), with the backing of Liberian insurgent and then President Charles Taylor.

The Security Council created UNAMSIL in 1999 and imposed an arms embargo against non-state actors and a travel ban against members of the RUF and the military junta. It also created a Sanctions Committee, now largely inactive because the diamonds embargo has expired.

UNAMSIL’s mandate will expire on 31 December. It will be replaced by UNIOSIL, thereby concluding UNAMSIL’s three-year phased drawdown. The maintenance of a residual UN presence on the ground with UNIOSIL aims at ensuring that the achievements from past years can be secured and consolidated. Nonetheless, UNIOSIL is a small mission (about 50 international civilians) with an extensive mandate.

Downscaling UNAMSIL was carried out pursuant to a plan under which the gradual achievement of benchmarks was matched with phased repatriation of peacekeepers. The benchmarks include security sector reform, consolidation of state authority, reintegration of ex-combatants and control over diamond mining. From a maximum authorised strength of 17,500 in 2002, UNAMSIL now stands at 2,515 uniformed personnel. 

Pursuant to resolution 1620 of 31 August 2005, UNIOSIL will be mandated with, inter alia, assisting the Sierra Leonean government in capacity-building, good governance and security sector strengthening, as well as liaison with the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL). Notably, UNIOSIL will present an integrated approach in which the Secretary-General’s executive representative will also head the UN Development Programme (UNDP) country office and humanitarian coordination in Sierra Leone.

One important feature of the drawdown plan is coordination among peacekeeping operations in West Africa. In this context, the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) is due to provide security for the SCSL after UNAMSIL leaves.

Council Dynamics
By approving the transition to UNIOSIL months before UNAMSIL’s mandate expired, the Council displayed sensitivity to the challenges created by the end of a peacekeeping operation. This approach is a further example of a trend of more gradual transitioning from UN peacekeeping into peacebuilding and development.

Nonetheless, some inside the Council still advocate generally swifter pullouts in view of limited resources and the competing demands of more unstable situations. UNIOSIL, a very small office of about 50 international civilians, represents a compromise between both views.

Because of the limited scope and targeted nature of the remaining sanctions, there appears to be no pressure at this stage to review the sanctions regime.
Underlying Problems
Despite achievements on benchmarks and overall tranquillity, Sierra Leone still faces the lack of infrastructure and expertise, corruption, lack of control over diamond mining and delays in electoral reform.

Specific risks to security stem from extreme poverty, as well as instability in Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea. Porous borders, a border dispute with Guinea and the continuation of trials by the SCSL compound the picture.

UN Documents

 Security Council Resolutions
  • S/Res/1626 (19 September 2005) authorised UNMIL to provide security for the SCSL.
  • S/Res/1620 (31 August 2005) established the mandate of UNIOSIL.
  • S/Res/1610 (30 June 2005), 1537 (30 March 2004), 1492 (18 July 2003) and 1436 (24 September 2002) authorised UNAMSIL’s drawdown.
  • S/Res/1562 (17 September 2004) redefined UNAMSIL’s mandate from January 2005.
  • S/Res/1315 (14 August 2000) called for the SCSL.
  • S/Res/1270 (22 October 1999) established UNAMSIL.
 Reports of Council Missions
 Secretary-General’s Reports

Historical Background

 September 2005

UNMIL authorised to provide security for the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL).

 August 2005

UNIOSIL established.

 August 2003

Taylor exiled.

 June 2003

Taylor indicted by SCSL. Diamonds embargo expired.

 2002 Kabbah re-elected. UK troops left. Drawdown began.

RUF retreated into Liberia. Rebel disarmament began.


Lomé accord collapsed. UK and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)  troops sent. SCSL established. Diamonds embargo imposed. Ceasefire signed.


RUF took over Freetown. Lomé accord signed between government and RUF. UNAMSIL established.


Junta removed by ECOWAS’ Monitoring Observer Group (ECOMOG); President Kabbah reinstated. Oil embargo terminated. New sanctions imposed.


Private security firm Executive Outcomes leaves Sierra Leone. Kabbah toppled by junta and RUF. Oil and arms embargo imposed. Taylor elected President of Liberia.

 1996 Kabbah elected.
 1995 National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) hired Executive Outcomes against RUF.

Coup d’état by NPRC.

 1991 RUF attacked Bomaru. ECOMOG deployed in Sierra Leone.

ECOMOG deployed in Liberia.


Other Relevant Facts

 Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Chief of Mission
 Daudi Ngelautwa Mwakawago (Tanzania)
 UNAMSIL Force Commander
 Major-General Sajjad Akram (Pakistan)
 Size and Composition of Mission

 Strength as of 30 September 2005: 2,515 total uniformed personnel, including 2,360 troops and 99 military observers.

 1 July 2005 – 30 June 2006: $113.22 million (gross)
 22 October 1999 to present


Full forecast