The Netherlands increases support for Sierra Leone war crimes trials
'It is vital that the tribunal can continue to fight impunity without any constraint,' foreign minister Maxime Verhagen said. 'Perpetrators of crimes against humanity must know that they will not go unpunished.'
The SCSL has played an important role in the development of international law. In a series of judgments, the court's judges defined forced marriage as a crime against humanity. They have also established that attacks on military peacekeepers and conscripting and using child soldiers are violations of international humanitarian law.
The Netherlands' extra contribution is very welcome, because the Special Court is funded entirely from voluntary contributions from governments - unlike the tribunals for former Yugoslavia and Rwanda which are funded by the United Nations. The Netherlands has provided over 21 million euros to the Special Court since its inception in 2002.
For security reasons, the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor is not being conducted in Sierra Leone but in a courtroom at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. This is the first time that a former African head of state has been tried by an international court. The trial's completion will mark a major step in the international fight against impunity. The Sierra Leone tribunal is expected to complete its work in 2011.