May 2008 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 April 2008
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AFRICA

Sierra Leone

Expected Council Action
The Council is expected to consider the Secretary-General’s report on the now very small UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL). The report is due by 30 April, and UNIOSIL’s mandate expires on 31 September. (The post of the Executive Representative of the Secretary-General has been vacant since January.) A statement by the Council is a possible outcome.

Key Developments
On 31 January, the Secretary-General submitted a completion strategy for UNIOSIL to the Council. Subsequently, the Council on 28 February requested that the Secretary-General include in his April report further information on the drawdown of UNIOSIL after local elections scheduled for 5 July but in time for the completion of the mission in September. The Council also requested proposals on the mandate, structure and strength of the integrated political office that would succeed UNIOSIL.

On 22 February, the Special Court for Sierra Leone dismissed the appeals of three former leaders of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, which formed the military junta that ousted former Sierra Leonean President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah in 1997. The three leaders—Alex Tamba Brima, Brima Bazzy Kamara, and Santigie Borbor Kanu—were each convicted last June of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international humanitarian law. Kamara received a 45-year sentence while Brima and Kanu each received sentences of 50 years.

Related Developments in the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC)

In January the PBC country-specific configuration on Sierra Leone drew up an action plan covering the January-June period for implementing the Cooperation Framework for Sierra Leone. (The Framework is to guide PBC work with the government of Sierra Leone over the next three years.) Since January the Chair of the configuration, Ambassador Frank Majoor of the Netherlands, has visited a number of key capitals of stakeholders to elaborate on the Framework to governments and relevant international actors including Washington (the World Bank, IMF and the US government), Brussels (the EU and the Belgian government), London, Berlin, The Hague and Freetown. A high-level meeting of stakeholders from capitals and the headquarters of international institutions will be held on 19 May in New York to review progress on the Framework. In April the PBC decided to embark on a field mission to Sierra Leone in June to further follow up the country’s peacebuilding needs.

Key Issues
Key issues for the Council remain keeping on track with a successful drawdown and completion of UNIOSIL’s mandate, while continuing to support consolidation of peace in the country.

Options
Options before the Council include:

  • a statement confirming the drawdown of UNIOSIL based on the Secretary-General’s expected recommendations, but stressing the need to maintain vigilance with regard to effective peace consolidation in the country;
  • a more general statement supporting UNIOSIL’s activities in the country pending the termination of its mandate but leaving drawdown decisions to the Secretary-General and also reminding all stakeholders in Sierra Leone of the importance of ensuring that the local elections in July take place in a peaceful, free and fair manner;
  • urging prompt appointment of an Executive Representative of the Secretary-General, to lead UNIOSIL during the period of the local elections; and
  • including in the statement positive references to the contribution of the PBC in peace consolidation.

Council Dynamics
While Council members remain open to drawing down UNIOSIL with the view to terminating its mandate, some (especially the African members) wish to avoid premature signals of disengagement, both in light of the violence that surrounded last year’s presidential elections in Sierra Leone and painful recent experiences in other places, in particular Timor-Leste. Council members are awaiting the Secretary-General’s report to facilitate their deliberations on this matter.

The UK is the lead country on this issue.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1793 (21 December 2007) extended the mandate of UNIOSIL until 30 September 2008 and requested a completion strategy for the mission by 31 January, as well as specific proposals on the successor office in April.

Selected Presidential Statement

  • S/PRST/2007/23 (28 June 2007) addressed the work of the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Selected Secretary-General’s Report

  • S/2007/704 (4 December 2007) was the latest report of the Secretary-General on UNIOSIL.

Other

  • S/2008/137 (28 February 2008) was a letter from the Council president requesting for further information from the Secretary-General on the drawdown of UNIOSIL between 5 July 2008 local elections and its completion in September 2008.
  • S/2008/63 (31 January 2008) was the letter from the Secretary-General conveying the completion strategy for UNIOSIL.
  • S/2007/777 (28 December 2007) was a letter conveying the annual report of the Sanctions Committee on Sierra Leone.

Peacebuilding Commission

  • PBC/2/SLE/1 (3 December 2007) was the Sierra Leone Peacebuilding Cooperation Framework.
  • PBC/OC/1/2 (21 June 2006) was a letter from the Council president to the Secretary-General referring Sierra Leone to the PBC.

Other Relevant Facts

UNIOSIL Executive Representative of the Secretary-General

Vacant

Size and Composition of Mission

Total budgeted staff of 298, comprising 82 international staff, 192 local staff and 24 UN volunteers

Duration

1 January 2006 to present; current mandate expires 30 September 2008

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