Sierra Leone

Twenty-fifth report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (S/2005/273/Add.2)

UN Document
Originally published

I. Introduction

1. In my twenty-fifth report on the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), dated 26 April (S/2005/273), I underlined the continued need for considerable capacity-building to enhance the Sierra Leone Government's capability to carry out its functions. In this regard, I indicated that after the termination of UNAMSIL at the end of 2005, a strong United Nations system presence was likely to be needed in Sierra Leone to continue to build peace by enhancing political and economic governance and the national capacity for conflict prevention.

2. I also informed the Security Council of my intention to submit to it recommendations on a United Nations presence in Sierra Leone following the withdrawal of UNAMSIL that would develop and implement, in a fully coordinated and integrated manner, a viable peace consolidation strategy for Sierra Leone.

II. United Nations integrated office

3. By its resolution 1610 (2005) of 30 June 2005, the Security Council decided to extend the mandate of UNAMSIL for a final period of six months, until 31 December 2005, and requested me to finalize the necessary planning for an appropriate integrated United Nations system presence in Sierra Leone, as recommended in paragraphs 63 and 64 of my 26 April report, with the capacity and expertise to coordinate the activities of United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, cooperate with the donor community and continue to support the Government of Sierra Leone in peace consolidation and long-term development after the departure of UNAMSIL from the country.

4. In addition, in his letter dated 21 June addressed to me (S/2005/419), President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah requested a continued United Nations integrated presence in Sierra Leone to assist the Government in promoting good governance, development, human rights and security, in building its national capacity and in preparing for the 2007 general elections. President Kabbah also emphasized that while much progress had been made in restoring and consolidating peace and stability in Sierra Leone and in laying the foundations for sustainable development, the country was still facing enormous challenges and that the support of the United Nations would be critical to sustaining those achievements and to making further progress, including by addressing the root causes of the conflict that had occurred in the country to prevent a recurrence in the future.

5. Following extensive consultations among the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Department of Political Affairs, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UNAMSIL, the United Nations country team, the Government of Sierra Leone and other national and international stakeholders, I would recommend that, following the withdrawal of UNAMSIL, a modestly sized United Nations integrated office be established in Sierra Leone for an initial period of 12 months, commencing on 1 January 2006. The work of this integrated office would develop and consolidate further the continuing initiatives of the United Nations country team.

Mandate of the integrated office

6. The United Nations integrated office would be mandated to assist the Government of Sierra Leone with, inter alia:

(a) Building the capacity of State institutions to develop and implement a strategy for addressing the root causes of the conflict; enabling the peaceful and structured management of internal conflicts; and providing basic services to the population and accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals through poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth, including through the creation of an enabling framework for private investment and systematic efforts to address HIV/AIDS;

(b) Developing a national plan of action for human rights and establishing a national human rights commission, and monitoring, investigating, documenting and reporting on human rights and addressing rule of law issues as they pertain to the protection and promotion of human rights;

(c) Enhancing good governance and transparency and the accountability of public institutions, including through systematic anti-corruption measures and the monitoring of those institutions;

(d) Improving budgetary and expenditure processes, procurement and concessions practices and the Sierra Leone revenue base;

(e) Building the capacity of the National Electoral Commission to conduct a free, fair and credible national electoral process in 2007;

(f) Strengthening the independence and capacity of the judiciary to provide access to justice for all Sierra Leoneans;

(g) Developing initiatives for the political and economic empowerment of youth;

(h) Developing initiatives for the rights, protection and well-being of waraffected and vulnerable children and adolescents;

(i) Building, on the basis of Radio UNAMSIL, an independent and capable public radio capacity;

(j) Liaising with the Sierra Leonean security sector and other partners, including the International Military Advisory and Training Team, reporting on the security situation, and further strengthening the capacity of the Sierra Leone police, including the reform of the corrections system, and providing recommendations concerning external and internal security threats;

(k) Coordinating with the Special Court for Sierra Leone, as described in section III below.

Structure of the integrated office

7. The United Nations integrated office would be headed by my Executive Representative, who would also serve as the UNDP Resident Representative and the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, in order to ensure a cohesive and coordinated approach within the whole United Nations family in Sierra Leone.

8. The United Nations integrated office would comprise a small office to support my Executive Representative and five sections focusing on the key areas of its mandate, namely: Good Governance and Peace Consolidation, Human Rights and Rule of Law, Civilian Police and Military Assistance, Development, and Public Information. The office would also require logistical support.

9. The Good Governance and Peace Consolidation Section would comprise eight peace and governance advisers, who would monitor and support the development and implementation of an overall strategy to address the root causes of the conflict and also support the United Nations country team in providing technical assistance and policy advice to key national and local institutions.

10. The Human Rights and Rule of Law Section would comprise five international human rights officers, who would monitor, investigate, document and report on human rights, facilitate the development of a national plan of action for human rights and address legislative reform and justice sector issues, including corrections and other tasks. The section would be supported by an appropriate number of National Officers and United Nations Volunteers.

11. The Civilian Police and Military Assistance Section would comprise 20 civilian police personnel, who would provide specialized training and advice to the Sierra Leone police, monitor the performance of police personnel, conduct inservice and train-the-trainers courses, coach senior and mid-level managers and otherwise assist the Sierra Leone police, in close collaboration with the United Kingdom Department for International Development, particularly the police component of its justice sector programme. The section would also include 10 military liaison officers based in Freetown, who would provide advice and report to the head of the office on security-related issues, monitor the security situation and liaise with local security agencies and other stakeholders, such as the International Military Advisory and Training Team and the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

12. The Development Section would comprise the United Nations country team and the Office of the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator. To perform its additional tasks, the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator would be strengthened by the deployment of a senior coordination adviser, who would assist the head of the office in his resident and humanitarian coordination functions.

13. The Public Information Section would comprise three international staff and an appropriate number of National Officers. The current Radio UNAMSIL would be absorbed by the United Nations integrated office to promote national dialogue and inform and educate the public on the consolidation of peace, democracy and reforms in Sierra Leone. It is expected that the United Nations integrated office would provide the necessary training to national officers with a view to handing over the radio station to the United Nations country team and the Government of Sierra Leone by mid-2006.

14. Should the Council approve my recommendations concerning the establishment of the United Nations integrated office in Sierra Leone, it would be my intention to seek resources for its funding from the General Assembly. III. Security support for the Special Court for Sierra Leone

15. Pursuant to Security Council resolution 1315 (2000) of 14 August 2000, the Government of Sierra Leone and the United Nations concluded an agreement on 16 January 2002 to jointly set up the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The Court is mandated to try those bearing the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian and Sierra Leonean laws committed in the territory of Sierra Leone since 30 November 1996. Currently, 11 persons associated with all three of the country's former warring factions are under indictment by the Special Court, 9 of whom are in the custody of the Court. The Special Court is playing a vital role in bringing an end to impunity, which is essential for the prevention of conflict and the consolidation of peace in Sierra Leone and the West African subregion.

16. In his briefing to the Security Council on 24 May, the President of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, Justice Emmanuel Olayinka Ayoola, stated that the presence of UNAMSIL in Sierra Leone had been crucial in supporting the Special Court, in particular by providing it with security. He also stated that the only viable option for the Special Court's protection after the departure of UNAMSIL was the retention of an international military or formed police contingent at the site, preferably from the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

17. In its resolution 1610 (2005) of 30 June 2005, the Security Council underlined the importance of providing effective security for the Special Court for Sierra Leone after the withdrawal of UNAMSIL and requested me to make recommendations on this matter to the Council as soon as possible. In this regard, it is important to underline that as the Special Court is financed through voluntary contributions, it has no budgetary provisions for security following the withdrawal of UNAMSIL.

18. During consultations with Special Court officials in which UNMIL and UNAMSIL participated, the following options were considered: (a) a company-size military unit or a formed police unit - either a stand-alone unit or a contingent provided by UNMIL; (b) a contingent provided by the Economic Community of West African States; and (c) security personnel provided by an international private security company.

19. After a careful assessment of the situation, it was concluded that, while overall security for the Court will continue to be provided by the Government of Sierra Leone, the only feasible and cost-effective option for the continued provision of reliable and effective additional security for the Special Court would be to transfer this responsibility from UNAMSIL to UNMIL following the former's withdrawal from Sierra Leone at the end of 2005. In accordance with the Special Court's request, that task could be entrusted to a company-size military contingent with an overall strength of up to 250 military personnel, including support staff.

20. To this end, and subject to the consent of the troop-contributing countries concerned, I would recommend that a company-size military unit from UNAMSIL be retained in Freetown upon the departure of the Mission to continue providing protection for the Special Court. I would also recommend that UNMIL assume the command and control of this unit and provide it with required support. The United Nations integrated office in Sierra Leone, which will have a military liaison cell, will also provide assistance, including limited logistical support, to the unit.

21. I would therefore recommend that the UNMIL force in Liberia be appropriately reduced so that its overall strength remains within the authorized ceiling of 15,000 military personnel. However, in the light of the October elections and the inauguration of the newly elected Government in Liberia scheduled for January 2006, I would recommend that the proposed reduction in the overall strength of UNMIL be postponed until the end of March 2006. At that time, the increase resulting from the addition of the military unit deployed to the Special Court could be offset through the implementation of the UNMIL adjustment, drawdown and withdrawal plan, which is scheduled to commence in March 2006.

22. This recommendation is fully consistent with the letter and spirit of Security Council resolution 1609 (2005) of 24 June, which authorizes me, subject to certain conditions, including the agreement of the troop-contributing countries and the Governments concerned, to temporarily redeploy military and civilian police personnel among UNMIL, UNAMSIL and the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire to deal with various challenges in the subregion. Agreement on this recommendation would also constitute progress towards enhancing inter-mission cooperation, as proposed in my report of 2 March (S/2005/135).

23. Pending the consideration by the Security Council of this recommendation, the Secretariat, UNMIL and UNAMSIL have already taken several necessary steps. They include consulting with potential troop-contributing countries, the Governments of Sierra Leone and Liberia and the Special Court. In addition, proposals on implementation are being prepared, including command and control arrangements, contingency plans for enhanced security in case of crisis and crossborder operations of other military and civilian elements of UNMIL, and the provision of logistical support. At the same time, the logistical, political and legal aspects of a broader cross-border commitment by UNMIL following the withdrawal of UNAMSIL will continue to be developed.

24. Should the Security Council agree to this proposal to provide security to the Special Court, I intend to provide the details of the arrangements in my twenty-sixth report on UNAMSIL, to be issued in September.

IV. Conclusions

25. There has been significant progress in consolidating peace in Sierra Leone since the end of the conflict in January 2002. However, many challenges remain and strong support by the United Nations is needed to help in strengthening national capacity to address the underlying causes of the conflict, including through strengthening political and economic governance, protecting human rights and reestablishing the rule of law. It is vital that the achievements made so far be built upon through the implementation of a coherent and well-coordinated peacebuilding strategy for achieving durable stability and sustainable development.

26. Following the withdrawal of UNAMSIL, the sustained commitment of the United Nations, working in close partnership with the Government of Sierra Leone, will be required. A United Nations integrated office would provide the Government and people of Sierra Leone with much-needed assistance in developing and implementing a strategy to address the complex set of issues outlined in my previous report (S/2005/273, paras. 47-56).

27. The Special Court is playing a vital role in bringing to justice those who bear the greatest responsibility for crimes committed during the conflict in Sierra Leone. It is most important that it be provided with the effective security needed to ensure that it can successfully complete its work. While it is providing a tangible contribution to the process of national reconciliation, thus strengthening the consolidation of peace in Sierra Leone, the Court may also serve as a model for ensuring accountability and combating impunity for crimes committed during other conflicts in an expeditious and financially restrained fashion.

28. In conclusion, I hope the members of the Council will give serious consideration to the recommendations outlined above regarding the establishment of an integrated United Nations office in Sierra Leone and the provision of security support to the Special Court.