May 2006 Monthly Forecast

Posted 27 April 2006
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AFRICA

Sierra Leone

Expected Council Action
The Council will receive the first regular report of the Secretary-General on the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL). It is possible that the Executive Representative of the Secretary-General Victor da Silva Ângelo will brief the Council.  There may be some preliminary discussion of the potential for the new Peacebuilding Commission to assist Sierra Leone. 

Key Facts
Following the completion of the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), UNIOSIL started operating on 1 January. The office is a UN political mission and a coordination centre for UN development and humanitarian activities, designed to provide a follow-on UN presence. The UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) has provided security for the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) since UNAMSIL completed its operations.

The Special Court indicted former Liberian president Charles Taylor in 2003 for his role in the war in Sierra Leone. Under the Liberian peace settlement Taylor was exiled in Nigeria. Abuja had indicated that it would hand him over only after a request from an elected Liberian government. Recently, Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf urged Taylor’s handover directly to the Special Court. Taylor tried to escape from Nigeria but was apprehended and flown to Liberia on 29 March, where he was taken into custody by UNMIL, which had a Security Council mandate to arrest Taylor. He was flown to the Special Court in Freetown on the same day and, in view of the enhanced risks, the Secretary-General called for additional UN peacekeepers to provide security for the Court.

Key Issues
The key issue for the Council is to guarantee the continuing stability of Sierra Leone, bearing in mind also the security situation in neighbouring Liberia, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire.

Council Dynamics
There is no division within the Council on the provision of a continuing, residual UN presence in Sierra Leone, at least until UNIOSIL’s mandate expires in December. The country’s recent relative stability has led members to instead focus more on Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire.

Options
As the Council’s role in Sierra Leone decreases significant reconstruction challenges remain, one option is to use Sierra Leone as one of the first cases before the Peacebuilding Commission.

This possibility has the support of some Council members, particularly African members, who would like to guarantee that international attention does not decrease in African post-conflict situations considered to be a success, such as Sierra Leone and Burundi.

The Council has yet to review the fate of the 1997 sanctions regime. The Sanctions Committee has been largely inoperative.

Underlying Problems
In addition to severe development and reconstruction needs, dissatisfaction among the population with poverty and unemployment and rifts within existing political parties may create instability during the upcoming elections in 2007.

The arrest and pending trial before the Special Court of commanders that had supported President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, such as Samuel Norman, has attracted domestic condemnation. The Court is due to finish all trials by early to mid-2007.

UN Documents

 Selected Security Council Resolutions
  • S/RES/1638 (11 November 2005) mandated UNMIL to apprehend Taylor.
  • S/RES/1626 (19 September 2005) mandated UNMIL to provide security for the Special Court. 
  • S/RES/1620 (31 August 2005) established UNIOSIL.
  • S/RES/1315 (14 August 2000) called for the Special Court.
 Selected Presidential Statement
  • S/PRST/2005/63 (20 December 2005) marked the end of UNAMSIL’s mandate.
 Selected Secretary-General’s Reports
  • S/2005/777 (12 December 2005) was UNAMSIL’s end of mandate report.
  • S/2005/273 (26 April 2005) and Add. 1 (21 June 2005) and 2 (28 July 2005) recommended UNIOSIL.
  • S/2000/915 (4 October 2000) detailed the Special Court.
 Selected Letter
  • S/2005/843 (30 December 2005) was the latest report of the Sanctions Committee.

Historical Background

 29 March 2006 Charles Taylor was apprehended and surrendered to the Special Court.
 1 January 2006 UNIOSIL started operating in Sierra Leone.
 December 2005 UNAMSIL’s withdrawal was completed.
 September 2005

The Council mandated UNMIL to provide security for the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

June 2004 Trials began at the Special Court. The disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of former combatants was concluded.
 August 2003

Taylor fled to Nigeria.

 June 2003

Taylor was indicted by the Special Court. The diamonds embargo expired.

 2002 Kabbah was re-elected. UNAMSIL’s drawdown began.
 2001

Remaining Revolutionary United Front (RUF) fighters withdrew. Disarmament began. 

 2000

The Lomé peace accord collapsed. Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) troops (the Monitoring Observer Group, or ECOMOG) started withdrawing, but the situation quickly deteriorated. The UK sent troops. The Council imposed a diamonds embargo and strengthened UNAMSIL. A ceasefire was signed. The Special Court was established.

 1999

The Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and the RUF reached Freetown. The controversial Lomé accord was signed, including power-sharing and amnesty. UNAMSIL was established with ECOMOG’s military support.

 1998

ECOMOG and pro-Kabbah Civil Defence Forces removed AFRC and RUF from power. President Kabbah returned. The oil embargo was terminated but new sanctions were imposed to pressure the RUF, the AFRC and Taylor. The Council mandated the dispatch of military observers.

 1997

Executive Outcomes, a private security firm, left. Kabbah was toppled by the AFRC and the RUF. International pressure stepped up. The Council imposed oil and arms embargoes. Taylor was elected president of Liberia.

 1996 The National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC), the country’s ruling military junta, agreed to elections. Kabbah was elected. The RUF and the government signed the Abidjan peace accord.
 1992-1995 The NPRC carried out a coup d’état and hired Executive Outcomes.
 1991

The RUF carried out attacks on Sierra Leone from Liberia; Sierra Leone became involved in the Liberian war, fighting against Taylor.

Other Relevant Facts

 Executive Representative of the Secretary-General (also UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator)

 Victor da Silva Ângelo (Portugal)
 Size and Composition of Mission

 Strength as of 31 December 2005: 159 international staff; 228 local staff; ten military observers; twenty police; 83 UN Volunteers

 Cost
 Resources requested for 2006: $23.3 million
 Duration
 1 January 2006 to present

Useful Additional Sources

  • Florquin, Nicolas and Berman, Eric G. (eds.), Armed and Aimless: Armed Groups, Guns and Human Security in the ECOWAS Region, Geneva: Small Arms Survey, 2005
  • Hirsch, John, “Sierra Leone”, in Malone, David (ed.), The UN Security Council: From the Cold War to the 21st Century, Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2004, pp. 521-535

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