Minister of State Lenihan announces €300,000 for the UN Special Court in Sierra Leone
This brings Ireland's support to the Court to more than €1 million, since its establishment in 2002.
Making the announcement, Minister Lenihan said:
"The Special Court in Sierra Leone is playing a crucial role in the fight against impunity and in efforts to provide regional stability throughout West Africa. As the Court enters the final two years of its mandate, it is immensely important that it has the resources necessary to enable it to complete its work, including bringing to justice the remaining indictees, in particular the former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor.
"Ireland has been a strong supporter of the Court since its establishment in 2002. In fact, we have contributed €885,000 over the past three years.
"A further US$25 million is necessary to meet the Court's costs in 2006 and 2007 and I am pleased to announce this further contribution of €300,000 by Ireland which I know will greatly assist the Court in completing its vital work".
Today's announcement is being made in the context of a pledging conference taking place at the United Nations in New York, with a view to ensuring that adequate funding for the Court is available for its final two years of operation (2006 and 2007).
Note for Editors
The Sierra Leone Special Court was established in 2002 to bring try 'those who bear greatest responsibility' for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Sierra Leone after 30th November 1996.
Currently, eleven persons associated with all three of the country's former warring factions stand indicted by the Special Court. They are charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law. Specifically, the charges include murder, rape, extermination, acts of terror, enslavement, looting and burning, sexual slavery, conscription of children into an armed force, and attacks on United Nations peacekeepers and humanitarian workers, among others. All but two of the indictees - Charles Taylor and Johnny Paul Koroma - are already in the custody of the Special Court in Freetown.