Freetown, Sierra Leone, 15 July 2005
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Visits the Special Court
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights pledged today to support the Special Court’s efforts to secure the arrest and transfer of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.
Louise Arbour is in Sierra Leone for four days as part of her mission to West Africa. During her visit to the Special Court complex in Freetown, Mrs Arbour pledged her support to the Special Court in the areas of fundraising and the transfer of indictees whom remain outside the custody of the Special Court.
During the meeting, Mrs Arbour reiterated her supported for the immediate transfer of Charles Taylor from Nigeria to the Special Court in Freetown saying it was now time for “justice to follow its course.”
She also enquired about the Special Court’s funding and said she would “certainly be supportive” of all fundraising efforts. The Special Court met this week with private foundations in New York, and will hold a pledging conference in September, in an attempt to obtain contributions from member states to secure funding beyond 31 December 2005.
In an hour-long meeting, Ms Arbour was briefed by senior Court officials on the progress of the trials, funding, involvement with the local community, and the legacy of the Court. She listened to short presentations by the Acting Registrar and officials from Prosecution, Defence, Chambers, Witness and Victims Support, Outreach and Press and Public Affairs.
The Special Court is an independent tribunal established jointly by the United Nations and the Government of Sierra Leone. It is mandated to bring to justice those who bear the greatest responsibility for atrocities committed in Sierra Leone after 30 November 1996. To date, the Prosecutor has indicted eleven persons on various charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law. Nine indictees are currently in the custody of the Court.
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